Macron fears 110 kph speed limit being red rag to motorists
French President Emmanuel Macron has ‘welcomed’ the 149 French Citizens’ Climate Convention’s proposals to be put on the government’s agenda, except three. Among them limiting the speed on highways to 110 km/hour instead of 130. He fears this would become a red rag to the yellow vests movement and others, that would bugger up the whole climate debate.
Without even awaiting whether Macron would eventually put up the proposal for a general referendum like suggested by the convention, the French movement ’40 Million Motorists’ screamed blue murder. “Non aux 110 km/h sur autoroute.” (No to the 110 km/h on highways).
Petition with million signatures
The movement that was created against lowering the speed on regional roads from 90 to 80 km/hour claims to have gathered already more than a million signatures for their petition against this new thread. In that petition they claim lowering the speed limit to 110 wouldn’t result in lower casualties or lower emissions.
Macron doesn’t want the debate about a 110 km limit to end up the same way as the 80 km/hour polemic. He said this debate must get time to ‘mature’ to create broader public support. There is the feared reaction of the yellow vests movement, which started as a protest against fuel prices and is held responsible for destroying most fixed radar traps along these regional roads.
80 km/h limit on regional roads
After months of opposition from bikers, car drivers, and politicians, the new regional road speed limit has been made official from July 1st, 2018 on. On 400 000 km of secondary roads, the maximum speed is limited to 80 km/hour, especially to decrease the number of casualties on these roads.
According to France’s Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe, at that time, this new measure would help to save between 300 to 400 lives per year. “Reducing the number of casualties on French roads is a true political and public issue,” explained the PM. “If the results aren’t up to the expectations, the government will take its responsibilities.” The ‘rendezvous clause’ was fixed on July 1st, 2020. That’s tomorrow…
But the government is reluctant to release the figures yet on how many lives were actually spared in these two years the measure is active. The fact that two-thirds of the fixed radar speed traps were destroyed, and many French drivers ignored the limits, plus the drop in traffic caused by the Covid-19 lockdown last months, makes getting reliable figures extremely difficult, the government claims.