Paris Default Speed Limit Might Drop to 30 KM/H

And we thought Japan is the slowest country in the world for having a general speed limit set at 40 or 50 km/h (25-31 mph) on most of its roads, including highways and country lanes. But it seems like Paris will go slower than that in order to reduce accidents, air pollution and deaths.
paris traffic 1 photo
Photo: wikimedia
The City of Lights just dropped its speed limit last year on its busy ring road by 10 km/h down to 70 km/h (43 mph) and several areas of the city were already caped down at 30 km/h (18.6 mph). Now, the newly elected mayor, Anne Hidalgo, proposed a new plan to extent the 30 km/h default speed limit to all other roads in order to keep the city safer and less polluted.

Studies showed that reducing the speed around towns to 30 km/h or less will reduce the total number of accidents as well as CO2 emissions by not creating traffic jams.

Yeah, it sounds a bit strange that a slower speed limit will fluidize traffic, but experiments shown that drivers who rush towards a red light only to sit at it and then take it all over again with the next one cause more jams than if all drivers would crawl at a slower speed and even synchronize with the stop lights.

It’s kinda obvious, but most drivers prefer to rush and not scan the road ahead to go with the flow. And let’s remember that cars tend to emit more CO2 when having to overcome inertia and accelerate from a stand still.

Of course, rushing and not scanning the road ahead also leads to crashes, so with all drivers stuck at 30 km/h they’ll have more time to plan ahead acceleration and braking points. But along with this also comes the frustration of having over 100 hp and being forced to drive like in the 1920's. Just think of how many more cigarettes will be smoked in traffic due to boredom.

Many other cities in Europe at least experimented with the 30 km/h speed limit in certain areas with positive results. For example, London’s 20 mph (32 km/h) zones in residential areas have reduced fatal and serious car crashes by 53 percent.

However, no other city as large as Paris (approximate 2.2 million residents) has adopted a default speed limit of 30 km/h for all streets, with the exception of few large transit rods with few stop lights or crossings, which will put it in the head of the list if the law passes. Most of other European city have a predominantly 50 km/h (31 mpg) default speed limit.
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