On the motorway to Lorient, I noticed a green flashing light, then it turned red, then back to green. As I got closer I realised it was a radar speed sign. I passed, it was green, and all was well. I turned the corner and passed a speed camera. Where was the sign? Was I concentrating so much on the green flashing radar sign that I missed it?
It appears not. The French government has announced that speed camera warning signs are to be removed from all roads in France, as part of a range of road safety measures.
Not only will the warning signs be removed, but information about the location of fixed radars will no longer be made publicly available.
The government has already withdrawn a map indicating the location of speed cameras from their own website, and some prefectures have already begun taking down the signs.
The number of fixed radars has substantially increased in recent years, and, as part of the new measures, a further 1000 are to be installed by the end of 2012.
The government is to also experiment more widely with a new generation of radars, able to measure the speed of vehicles over a specific distance within a designated zone and to distinguish between different types of vehicles and their permitted speed limits.
One other notable measure that has been announced is to ban the use of speed trap locator alerts, such as GPS navigational systems (TomTom, Mappy, Garmin, etc). The use of these devices will also be punished by a fine of up to €1500 and the loss of six points on the licence (French licence points work in reverse to those in the UK).
There are around 5 million of these devices currently in circulation in France, so just what the government proposes to do about them remains unclear.
Since 2015, when the French road safety authority confirmed that it would continue to advertise fixed speed cameras after all, there have been five different types of signs on French roads and motorways. The most common are the classic speed camera signs, which read “For your safety, frequent speed camera checks” or “For your safety, automatic checks”. The automatic check signs should gradually disappear, making way for the speed camera sign which is being introduced in 2017. The texts have been replaced with the indication of the maximum speed to be respected.