The French speed cameras that reward rather than punish

If drivers speed, a red light stops the traffic. If they respect the limit, it stays green

The speed camera is connected to traffic lights and only lets drivers through if they are going under the 30km/h speed limit
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A newly installed speed camera in France will use a traffic light system to encourage drivers to slow down, rather than simply penalise them for speeding.

The technology works by changing the traffic lights depending on whether approaching drivers are speeding.
It can only be used in built-up areas on roads with 30km/h or 50km/h limits.

If the vehicle is going under the speed limit, the light will go green to allow traffic to flow.

But when vehicles are going too fast, the light turns red.

They have been used in several communes across France in recent years, with Amboise (Indre-et-Loire) set to install the technology in the coming weeks.

“That’s what we call ‘reward’ speed cameras because if you respect the speed limit, traffic flows much more easily,” said Amboise's mayor, Thierry Boutard.

He told FranceInfo the decision to introduce the new system on the bridge at the entrance to the commune was taken because the road was becoming dangerous for cyclists, who claim drivers speed to go around them.

Read more: Record 5,600 speed cameras to be operating in France by 2023

One cyclist said: “Drivers overtake us, we go on to the pavement, but then there are a lot of people on the pavement.”

The new system will require drivers to stop if they approach too fast, which would force them to go through the lights at a lower speed, meaning that cyclists and pedestrians feel safer.

Jumping this red light would get you a €135 fine and four penalty points deducted from your driving licence.

Not all traffic lights in the commune will use the same system. Those at intersections and pedestrian crossings will still work as normal.

The system has already been tested successfully in Maisons-Alfort (Val-de-Marne, Ile-de-France), and has had other positive benefits too.

One resident said: “It stops people from going too quickly, as they know there are cyclists, and so lots of families now [feel safe enough to] walk on the banks of the Marne river.”

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