french roundabouts - the definitive answer

All you need to know about a roundabout in france

7 messages
03/12/2008 at 10:01

This topic comes up over and over again - generally with a lot of debate - but I have recently had occaision to take my highway code in france and the whole issue is surprisingly simple.

 The french highway code states that a roundabout is simply another piece of one way road (but circular) - so standard priority to the right applies.

(I should stop explaining here cos the rest is now obvious........)

This means: Like any other road junction in france

(oncoming) you don't give way  to traffic on the left unless you have a stop or give way sign or line.

(circulating on) you give way to the right unless they are stopped by a  give way/stop sign and line.

(Leaving) if you need to lane change from the inside YOU give way as you are coming from the left.

straighten them out in your mind and its all very logical (but perhaps a little nonsensical which is why the priority to the right is being removed slowly from every roundabout in the country) et ben voila!


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Bill Shaw Mission Motos - Motorcycle Travel Solutions.

Cool Motorcycle Packing Stuff Generally less than you'd pay from the US direct.Discounts at the moment as trying to sell it all off.

www.motorbikefriendly.com - we are always looking for B&B owners (anywhere) to add  their B&B's to our free listing. Rider owned and run places especially welcome. Riders resource site - routes etc, ask questions of the locals.

Edited: 03/12/2008 at 10:15
03/12/2008 at 17:24

OK spin - not often i would argue with you BUT i'm quoting from the french highway code - and every summer there is a post about this.

Having had a couple of near misses over the past 5 years I think it is worth mentioning that you do not automatically have the right of way when on the roundabout. The first time you're almost t-boned  by a big black mercedes is convincing, PAD is a little confusing - but if you want really confusing try french parking signs....


http://www.missionmotos.com/Product%20Tree/marsee-tankbags-tailpacks-europe/marsee-images/bill-on-marsee-tankbag-small.JPG


Bill Shaw Mission Motos - Motorcycle Travel Solutions.

Cool Motorcycle Packing Stuff Generally less than you'd pay from the US direct.Discounts at the moment as trying to sell it all off.

www.motorbikefriendly.com - we are always looking for B&B owners (anywhere) to add  their B&B's to our free listing. Rider owned and run places especially welcome. Riders resource site - routes etc, ask questions of the locals.

03/12/2008 at 20:19
I've always found them exactly the same as in the UK but obviously you give way to the left. Except for the Arc de Triumph where you give way to oncoming traffic and insurance is reduced to 50 50.
03/12/2008 at 21:11

I agree with that Miguel- I live in France at the moment and notice no difference from the UK except the Etoile (Arc de Triomphe) and a few other ones (one in Versailles for example).

I rarely see priorite a droite on any kind of road, most seem to be on industrial estates/in small towns. It seems to have been phased out but nonetheless cannot be ignored, especially on two wheels. 

 A yellow diamond-shaped sign with a white border indicates that the road you are travelling on has priority, when you do not you will see the same sign with a black bar through it-that's the one to be aware of.

 

04/12/2008 at 11:11
Just for the sake of the academic debate, I would like to ask a question:

>> (circulating on) you give way to the right unless they are stopped by a give way/stop sign and line.

how do you know they have such a sign ?
On a normal road, you have the /+\ sign that SpinDoctor was talking about. But you have no such sign inside a roundabout, or at least I've never seen it.

So if read the letter of the law, it seems to me that you have no way of guaranteeing that the road joining the roundabout has to give you priority. Absent the sign, you should treat them as a normal junction, which means you should assume they have priority.

Obviously this never happens, but the law looks inconsistent to me.

As I said, just an academic point.

Last but not least: beware Italian roundabouts, especially in large towns. It's not uncommon to have both types of priority, so you really need to read the traffic signs at each roundabout.


Ride Safe,
05/12/2008 at 20:45

I found a couple in the backstreets of Paris, in the vicinity of the Porte de Versailles, when we stayed there last year. Very scary in rush hour. Not quite as scary as trying to cross the Arc roundabout above ground cos you can't find the subway  Only had one real moment, on the ringroad, when in the stop-start traffic and trying to change lanes for an exit I forgot the give way to the right thing (which weirdly applies to the slip roads) and almost got side swiped...

All in the car, not sure I'd fancy going into the city on me bike...

09/12/2008 at 13:01

Priorité a droite is alive and well in France...

Since summer 2007, the whole of Rochefort town centre (south of La Rochelle) has been designated a pedestrian priority zone.  Speed is limited to 30kph and, with the exception of mini roundabouts, all junctions in the zone are now PaD.

Similar situation in Agen (Lot et Garonne) where all side roads entering/crossing the town's main street have PaD.

All part of planned urban traffic calming initiatives - and they really work.

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