In France, to make people slow down, they raise the speed limit

A small French town has discovered that the best way it could keep people safe on the roads was to raise the speed limit. 

french speed camera

THE small French town of La Chapelle-sous-Geberoy sits just north west of Paris, and found itself with a problem of speed. 

It is not an unfamiliar situation. Someone arrives at a rural town with few people and decides that they can do whatever speed they like. What are the consequences?

"Slow down Arthur, Stick to Thirty" by bicameral is marked with CC BY 2.0.

The speed limit through the town was 30kph, but such places do not make use of speed cameras as a matter of French policy. 

Additionally, because of the main road through the town being a main supply route for trucks heading to the nearby wind farm, speed bumps and other such ‘speed reducers’ were not able to be implemented. 

As a result, the 30kph limit was frequently broken and, frustrated with the situation, the people of the town decided to think outside of the box to find a solution. 

That solution was to raise the speed limit to 50kph, thus making it possible for speed cameras to be used in the town. 

Soy Motero suggests that many people were travelling faster than 50kph anyway, so the 20kph increase to the limit was not a problem in that respect. 

By raising the speed limit and introducing speed cameras as a result, there is now better enforcement of the speed limit than there was with the 30kph limit, and therefore people are safer with the 50kph limit than before. 

The situation of La Chapelle-sous-Geberoy shows a couple of things. Firstly, it shows that central governments in a big city- and even local governments which can be easily distanced from the most remote places - do not, and possibly even cannot, understand the needs and requirements of those remote areas. In a period of time where governance is driven by data, the anomalies are forgotten, ignored, and overlooked. 

But, secondly, La Chapelle-sous-Geberoy has shown that there remain ways to force the people who have forgotten, ignored, and overlooked you to take you into consideration. In this case, this French town told people they can go faster, so that, in reality, they would go slower. 

In text image courtesy of Colin Milligan (bicameral) via Creative Commons CC BY 2.0.