Author Topic: Riding in France  (Read 4148 times)

robgul

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  • cyclist, Cytech accredited mechanic & woodworker
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Re: Riding in France
« Reply #25 on: December 26, 2020, 06:27:58 pm »
Is it 80 on D roads, 90 on N roads, or is it defined in some other way?

No. It was 90 everywhere, until July 2018. Then the government decided it would be 80 everywhere, no matter how safe, or dangerous, a road actually is. A few months ago, the same government changed its mind. The basic rule is now 80 everywhere, except when the local authorities (the départements) decides that a specific road is safe enough to be turned back to 90.

And how is observance and enforcement?

It really depends on where you are. In my local trips around Nevers, whenever there is no traffic, I set the cruise control to 100 kph and relax my right foot. I have never been fined in 20 years. In other regions, it's another story.

The issue you here, as a motorist, is that the signage doesn't keep up with the changes - where segments within the same, say, 20 miles vary 3 or 4 times.   It cost me Euro 80 to find out  >:(  - I did make sure I got a receipt from the Gendarme to check he wasn't on the fiddle as it's strictly cash only.
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Re: Riding in France
« Reply #26 on: December 26, 2020, 10:41:40 pm »
Sorry to hear that you learned it the hard way, Rob, but the fact is that default speed limits in France are usually not signposted. You are supposed to know :facepalm: For example, the default speed limit is 50 kph in town, but you will never see a 50 sign at the entrance of a village. You will only see a speed limit sign when it's different, usually 30 or 70.

robgul

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  • cyclist, Cytech accredited mechanic & woodworker
    • Cycle:End-to-End
Re: Riding in France
« Reply #27 on: December 27, 2020, 07:46:56 am »
Sorry to hear that you learned it the hard way, Rob, but the fact is that default speed limits in France are usually not signposted. You are supposed to know :facepalm: For example, the default speed limit is 50 kph in town, but you will never see a 50 sign at the entrance of a village. You will only see a speed limit sign when it's different, usually 30 or 70.

Yebbut - the 20 miles or so that I refer to had no villages or anything built that I recall - there were a couple of speed signs which contradicted each other which just seemed to relate to bends in the road  ???  . . . perhaps the local mayor was just a bit short on funds and sent some cops out revenue chasing!   [That's a bit like the "parking control oficers" here in Stratford-upon-Avon . . . out combing the streets for offenders and fine opportunities during lockdown up until 2000hrs]
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T42

  • *** fool in a hurry
Re: Riding in France
« Reply #28 on: December 27, 2020, 08:51:09 am »
Sorry to hear that you learned it the hard way, Rob, but the fact is that default speed limits in France are usually not signposted. You are supposed to know :facepalm: For example, the default speed limit is 50 kph in town, but you will never see a 50 sign at the entrance of a village. You will only see a speed limit sign when it's different, usually 30 or 70.

Not quite: the town sign is the 50 kph limit.  It's the same in Germany.  Ditto the end-of-town sign.  I remember talking to Brits years ago who were tickled by these dumb foreigners who needed signs to tell them they were leaving town.

Lifting the 80 kph limit to 90 was left to the prefects of each region so as to shift blame from governmental shitheads.  In Alsace I have seen no changes.

Other niggles to remember in France: there's a default speed limit of 20 kph on cycle paths, and for some imponderable reason they're closed to cyclists after sunset - probably because pedestrians will be stealthily zig-zagging about them in dark clothing.  Everyone ignores the speed limit, and I have only heard of it being enforced once in the last 20-odd years.   In the Bas-Rhin our darling prefect has decreed that cycle paths are off-limits from one hour before sunset to one hour after sunrise. I doubt if even the police are aware of that one.

Oh aye, re water: the law says that the water from any public source (tap, pump, whatever) must be drinkable safe to drink unless a sign says otherwise.  In our village there's a spring-fed spout that feeds a horse-trough. One sign on it reads "Ich bin so gut, ich kann nur geben", while another below it says "Eau non potable".  Heigh ho.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Riding in France
« Reply #29 on: December 27, 2020, 12:24:34 pm »
Sorry to hear that you learned it the hard way, Rob, but the fact is that default speed limits in France are usually not signposted. You are supposed to know :facepalm: For example, the default speed limit is 50 kph in town, but you will never see a 50 sign at the entrance of a village. You will only see a speed limit sign when it's different, usually 30 or 70.

Not quite: the town sign is the 50 kph limit.  It's the same in Germany.  Ditto the end-of-town sign. 
Not just Germany, almost all of Europe.

Ed: The problem of knowing the national limit also applies all over. Even more so in UK than most countries, due to our use of the black and white numberless sign.
Faster than a walk, slower than a train, often slightly higher than a person. (David Byrne)

Re: Riding in France
« Reply #30 on: December 27, 2020, 03:45:37 pm »
Sorry to hear that you learned it the hard way, Rob, but the fact is that default speed limits in France are usually not signposted. You are supposed to know :facepalm: For example, the default speed limit is 50 kph in town, but you will never see a 50 sign at the entrance of a village. You will only see a speed limit sign when it's different, usually 30 or 70.

Not quite: the town sign is the 50 kph limit.  It's the same in Germany.  Ditto the end-of-town sign.  I remember talking to Brits years ago who were tickled by these dumb foreigners who needed signs to tell them they were leaving town.

Lifting the 80 kph limit to 90 was left to the prefects of each region so as to shift blame from governmental shitheads.  In Alsace I have seen no changes.

Other niggles to remember in France: there's a default speed limit of 20 kph on cycle paths, and for some imponderable reason they're closed to cyclists after sunset - probably because pedestrians will be stealthily zig-zagging about them in dark clothing.  Everyone ignores the speed limit, and I have only heard of it being enforced once in the last 20-odd years.   In the Bas-Rhin our darling prefect has decreed that cycle paths are off-limits from one hour before sunset to one hour after sunrise. I doubt if even the police are aware of that one.

Oh aye, re water: the law says that the water from any public source (tap, pump, whatever) must be drinkable safe to drink unless a sign says otherwise.  In our village there's a spring-fed spout that feeds a horse-trough. One sign on it reads "Ich bin so gut, ich kann nur geben", while another below it says "Eau non potable".  Heigh ho.

The default is 50 in an "agglomeration" (where you don't need hi-viz in fog and after dark). The problem for foreigners is to know if the tiny bled you are crossing is an agglo or not (especially when it is part of a commune with a totally different name). The problem for french visitors is knowing whether or not the speed is controlled. The problem for locals of course is to know when and where the radar will be put and who will be manning it  ;D NB In a lot of small villages the default has become 30 with speed control traffic lights, speed bumps (sometimes very vicious ones) and chicanes, sometimes combined. They aren't actually particularly safe or convenient for cyclists!

The 80 doesn't apply to roads with a central division (unless otherwise indicated) which are 90. This includes three lane stretches where the extra lane is only in one direction.This means that you can spend a certain time going 50,70,80,90,70 50 and sometimes the signs are missing. The N20 north of Orleans is like this; a PITA unless you have something like an old 205 which you can control easily with just the accelerator. Don't even think about cruise control! Incidentally some départements have a blanket truck speed limit. In the Essonne (up the road on the N20) it is 70. Don't expect foreign trucks to keep to it! The other extreme is the Corrèze which has gone back to a blanket 90 everywhere (so on the same little D road going from Corrèze to Haute Vienne you change limits at the départementale limit. Don't miss the sign!)
Incidentally the N20 north of Orleans is one of those nationales where you probably wouldn't feel in any particular danger on a pushbike, the road is wide and the visibility good. There are a few idiots with dept45 on their plates though! Could be risky in the dark.

Re: Riding in France
« Reply #31 on: December 27, 2020, 04:44:19 pm »
Other changes I have noticed in France over the last 20 years -

A road entering a village is quite likely to have a roundabout, possibly offset, for no apparent reason.  The road surface through the village will be broken up when compared to the way it was outside the village.  I reckon both of these are done as a form of traffic calming.

Re: Riding in France
« Reply #32 on: December 27, 2020, 09:57:08 pm »
Other changes I have noticed in France over the last 20 years -

A road entering a village is quite likely to have a roundabout, possibly offset, for no apparent reason.  The road surface through the village will be broken up when compared to the way it was outside the village.  I reckon both of these are done as a form of traffic calming.

Although frequently that roundabout (a system giratoire probably, not a rond-point; the rond-point is priorité à droit, the system giratoire is give way entering the roundabout) will be there because there is a development plan, either housing, commercial or light industrial approved for the land just outside the village. Sometimes it takes decades before anyone wants to actually build anything but the mairie will like to show enthusiasm for the idea! Some villages have lousy road surfaces, some have speed bumps and chicanes; it depends on the budget!
 

Re: Riding in France
« Reply #33 on: December 27, 2020, 10:22:23 pm »
A lot of the above seems off topic to “riding a bike” in France. Split off into a separate post, perhaps?

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Riding in France
« Reply #34 on: December 27, 2020, 10:25:26 pm »
A lot of the above seems off topic to “riding a bike” in France. Split off into a separate post, perhaps?

It's all interesting stuff that provides more info to help me planning my route.

J
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Beer, bikes, and backpacking
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FifeingEejit

  • Not Small
Re: Riding in France
« Reply #35 on: December 27, 2020, 11:34:35 pm »
Sorry to hear that you learned it the hard way, Rob, but the fact is that default speed limits in France are usually not signposted. You are supposed to know :facepalm: For example, the default speed limit is 50 kph in town, but you will never see a 50 sign at the entrance of a village. You will only see a speed limit sign when it's different, usually 30 or 70.

At least the French use the Red and White town sign to indicate the speed limit restriction and sign what is what out of town (sort of).

In the UK the presence of street lights indicates a Restricted road (unless those street lights are adorned with repeater discs showing a different limit from that of a restricted road).
Just to be even more annoying there is differences between what makes a Restricted road between Scots, English and Irish law.
The National and Restricted speed limits are also devolved, so could diverge in future.


I was looking through my photos from last summer as someone's convinced me to talk about it, or at least show pictures and the SABREistic in me got some interesting shots of different ways that towns sign "Prioritee a' Droit applies here" of course I also noticed that most Traffic Circles even in towns determined to have PaD were set up as Roundabouts rather than traditional Traffic Circles (to use the English language terms).
I'm sure I did find at least 1 Traffic Circle somewhere near Brest though

T42

  • *** fool in a hurry
Re: Riding in France
« Reply #36 on: December 28, 2020, 10:39:08 am »
Other changes I have noticed in France over the last 20 years -

A road entering a village is quite likely to have a roundabout, possibly offset, for no apparent reason.  The road surface through the village will be broken up when compared to the way it was outside the village.  I reckon both of these are done as a form of traffic calming.

Although frequently that roundabout (a system giratoire probably, not a rond-point; the rond-point is priorité à droit, the system giratoire is give way entering the roundabout) will be there because there is a development plan, either housing, commercial or light industrial approved for the land just outside the village. Sometimes it takes decades before anyone wants to actually build anything but the mairie will like to show enthusiasm for the idea! Some villages have lousy road surfaces, some have speed bumps and chicanes; it depends on the budget!

In addition to roundabouts at town limits we now have a rash of chicanes: staggered islands that force motor traffic to slow down and weave through, with so-called cycle lanes cut straight by the roadside.  These things are bloody dangerous: I've had vehicles trying to overtake me when I'm in the cycle lane and ending up driving straight at me on the way out.  Also, the planners take no notice of drains when siting the damned things, the surfacing in the cycle bit is done by a butty gang of half-trained chimps with coal shovels and hangovers and they're usually full of debris because they're never swept.  Get in the middle of the car bit and stare them down is my method.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Riding in France
« Reply #37 on: December 28, 2020, 11:01:20 am »
Other changes I have noticed in France over the last 20 years -

A road entering a village is quite likely to have a roundabout, possibly offset, for no apparent reason.  The road surface through the village will be broken up when compared to the way it was outside the village.  I reckon both of these are done as a form of traffic calming.

Although frequently that roundabout (a system giratoire probably, not a rond-point; the rond-point is priorité à droit, the system giratoire is give way entering the roundabout) will be there because there is a development plan, either housing, commercial or light industrial approved for the land just outside the village. Sometimes it takes decades before anyone wants to actually build anything but the mairie will like to show enthusiasm for the idea! Some villages have lousy road surfaces, some have speed bumps and chicanes; it depends on the budget!

In addition to roundabouts at town limits we now have a rash of chicanes: staggered islands that force motor traffic to slow down and weave through, with so-called cycle lanes cut straight by the roadside.  These things are bloody dangerous: I've had vehicles trying to overtake me when I'm in the cycle lane and ending up driving straight at me on the way out.  Also, the planners take no notice of drains when siting the damned things, the surfacing in the cycle bit is done by a butty gang of half-trained chimps with coal shovels and hangovers and they're usually full of debris because they're never swept.  Get in the middle of the car bit and stare them down is my method.
Comme en Angleterre.
Faster than a walk, slower than a train, often slightly higher than a person. (David Byrne)

Re: Riding in France
« Reply #38 on: December 28, 2020, 11:21:40 am »
We do Crick barriers within the existing width of the road that you barely have to slow down for.

The French like to construct proper chicanes that require a bit of skill to barely slow down for.

Re: Riding in France
« Reply #39 on: December 28, 2020, 12:44:40 pm »
Referring back to the priorite a droit, I think it’s been mentioned before with respect to junctions out of town, whether or not marked with those fetching green bollards, which may also affect permitted speed? 
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

T42

  • *** fool in a hurry
Re: Riding in France
« Reply #40 on: December 28, 2020, 01:20:04 pm »
Other changes I have noticed in France over the last 20 years -

A road entering a village is quite likely to have a roundabout, possibly offset, for no apparent reason.  The road surface through the village will be broken up when compared to the way it was outside the village.  I reckon both of these are done as a form of traffic calming.

Although frequently that roundabout (a system giratoire probably, not a rond-point; the rond-point is priorité à droit, the system giratoire is give way entering the roundabout) will be there because there is a development plan, either housing, commercial or light industrial approved for the land just outside the village. Sometimes it takes decades before anyone wants to actually build anything but the mairie will like to show enthusiasm for the idea! Some villages have lousy road surfaces, some have speed bumps and chicanes; it depends on the budget!

In addition to roundabouts at town limits we now have a rash of chicanes: staggered islands that force motor traffic to slow down and weave through, with so-called cycle lanes cut straight by the roadside.  These things are bloody dangerous: I've had vehicles trying to overtake me when I'm in the cycle lane and ending up driving straight at me on the way out.  Also, the planners take no notice of drains when siting the damned things, the surfacing in the cycle bit is done by a butty gang of half-trained chimps with coal shovels and hangovers and they're usually full of debris because they're never swept.  Get in the middle of the car bit and stare them down is my method.
Comme en Angleterre.

I wouldn't know. I've made a point of avoiding the place for the last 35 years.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Riding in France
« Reply #41 on: December 28, 2020, 01:21:37 pm »
Referring back to the priorite a droit, I think it’s been mentioned before with respect to junctions out of town, whether or not marked with those fetching green bollards, which may also affect permitted speed? 
I don't know about green bollards, but the presence or absence of the priority diamond should be noted.
Faster than a walk, slower than a train, often slightly higher than a person. (David Byrne)

T42

  • *** fool in a hurry
Re: Riding in France
« Reply #42 on: December 28, 2020, 02:18:46 pm »
Referring back to the priorite a droit, I think it’s been mentioned before with respect to junctions out of town, whether or not marked with those fetching green bollards, which may also affect permitted speed? 
I don't know about green bollards, but the presence or absence of the priority diamond should be noted.

Those efforts that adorn slip-road junctions? They only affect your speed if you run into them.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Re: Riding in France
« Reply #43 on: December 29, 2020, 11:50:30 am »
Referring back to the priorite a droit, I think it’s been mentioned before with respect to junctions out of town, whether or not marked with those fetching green bollards, which may also affect permitted speed? 
I don't know about green bollards, but the presence or absence of the priority diamond should be noted.

Those efforts that adorn slip-road junctions? They only affect your speed if you run into them.

They don't affect your speed much unless you stop to remove the debris; I think they're mainly plastic (not that I have hit one to find out)  ;)

The famous diamond that is crossed when you enter an agglomeration is a thing of nationales (trunk roads) and is becoming less common as the trunk roads are diverted round towns, made into dual-carriageways or replaced by urban motorways. I hope QG is not planning on seeing too many of them (although she might come across them depending on her route planning, with bypassed nationales sometimes being a good option).
The sign for a priorité à droit is a red bordered triangle with an X in it. They are not always present! The equivalent for where the road has the priority carries a cross, oriented vertical, with a thicker bar vertical (which might be an arrow, can't remember). Self explanatory when you see it; again not always present.
A lot of p à d are being phased out to be replaced by stops. This can give rise to confusion (in places like the Dordogne, which had a lot of p à d) when you cross the old boy wjth a casquette who has done the same junction that way for the last half century and has had a bit of blanc with his petit noir (as he also has done for the last half century). No point in arguing; just look abashed, blow him a kiss and pass on your way. Morale of the story: treat any junction without a visible line or sign with extreme caution even if you think you have the right of way. Even with a line the usual rules of precaution and self survival apply.

Reminder: you are supposed to "mark" a stop by stopping forward movement and putting a foot on the ground; non-respect is a finable offence but no-one (or very few) respect this which is why the FFCT is having constant road safety campaigns on the subject. Amendes are reduced for quick payment for motorists but this is not the case for cyclists; 135€ is just that, not 90€ if paid in 14 days. The world is very unfair - but then a lot less cyclists get fined for "infractions" although we're certainly not saints! (This may have changed but I do not think so. I haven't seen anything to that effect)

Edit: Priorité à droit in towns will not (at least in my experience) have a sign by the junction to warn you. The absence of a white line across the road junction (solid or otherwise) indicates priorité à droit. It's like the speed limit being indicated by the town sign, you are expected to spot this and recognise it for what it is. When in doubt proceed with caution! Some towns do have an indication at the town entry to warn you of blanket priorité à droit. From memory Salbris (in the Sologne ) has one. I have been saved from certain doom on occasion by the car in front respecting the priority when I had completely forgotten!

T42

  • *** fool in a hurry
Re: Riding in France
« Reply #44 on: December 29, 2020, 02:06:08 pm »
Reminder: you are supposed to "mark" a stop by stopping forward movement and putting a foot on the ground; non-respect is a finable offence but no-one (or very few) respect this which is why the FFCT is having constant road safety campaigns on the subject. Amendes are reduced for quick payment for motorists but this is not the case for cyclists; 135€ is just that, not 90€ if paid in 14 days. The world is very unfair - but then a lot less cyclists get fined for "infractions" although we're certainly not saints! (This may have changed but I do not think so. I haven't seen anything to that effect)

Yeah, but all the same...  The polis are a bit narky at present from having to stand around in the cold on Covid duty.  El Prez got threatened with doom recently for riding down a road he and I have ridden down for years. There's glorified pavement masquerading as a cycle path one block over: you have to go up a kerb to get onto it, it's usually full of kids, and at the other end you drop down again into the exit from a busy road junction with drivers who have just finished their turn accelerating away. El Prez pointed out that it's not a compulsory path, but aforesaid black-enamel bastard played the old "oh, so you want to argue?" card so now it is.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Riding in France
« Reply #45 on: December 29, 2020, 03:43:55 pm »
The famous diamond that is crossed when you enter an agglomeration is a thing of nationales (trunk roads) and is becoming less common as the trunk roads are diverted round towns, made into dual-carriageways or replaced by urban motorways.
Ah, just when you think the same sign might mean the same thing in different places, there's France.
Faster than a walk, slower than a train, often slightly higher than a person. (David Byrne)

Re: Riding in France
« Reply #46 on: December 29, 2020, 04:37:22 pm »
Referring back to the priorite a droit, I think it’s been mentioned before with respect to junctions out of town, whether or not marked with those fetching green bollards, which may also affect permitted speed? 
I don't know about green bollards, but the presence or absence of the priority diamond should be noted.

Those efforts that adorn slip-road junctions? They only affect your speed if you run into them.

They don't affect our speed much unless you stop to remove the debris; I think they're mainly plastic (not that I have hit one to find out)  ;)

They are designed to be filled with sand to slow you down if you run into them, but I suspect that many of them have never been filled properly.

Re: Riding in France
« Reply #47 on: December 30, 2020, 01:28:59 pm »
Modernity has added some interesting extra amenities which can help the touring cyclist at ungodly hours
Bread and pizza vending machines. Not always easy to find though.
While reccing the Bordeaux-Dordrecht audax route I was still 1-2 hours away from the cheap hotel on a drizzly cold evening. No open restaurant seen for hours. Then I spotted something illuminated on the forecourt of a closed supermarket. It was a pizza vending machine. Quickly ordered, paid (by card), and 10 minutes later I had a warm pizza to enjoy. Half of it then, the other half at the hotel. That's the best function of the tiny French style front racks, hold a pizza box.

This could be a well proven method. Glad to hear that they take cards and you don't need the right dough.
Sorry I'll quit there and won't expel any more CO2.
often lost.

Re: Riding in France
« Reply #48 on: December 30, 2020, 06:27:19 pm »
A road entering a village is quite likely to have a roundabout, possibly offset, for no apparent reason.
I'm sure they've been there for decades - it's some time since I've driven in France, and I've certainly encountered them. I thought they were there specifically to slow traffic entering the village?

bairn again

Re: Riding in France
« Reply #49 on: December 30, 2020, 11:04:09 pm »
Best bit of advice I ever got for cycling in France was that theres normally always a water tap in a cemetery, usually immediately to one side as soon as you enter.  Even very small villages with no shops might have one and the cemeteries will also tend to be on the outskirts so you know intuitively where one is likely to be.

My only other bits of knowledge

1.  beware Mondays - even in medium sized towns there might be nothing open.
2.  go for lunch at 1200 sharp otherwise you'll pass places that might look lovely but are full of folk all having lunch from 1200 - 1400