I was interested to read the other day that the French government has changed the law giving right of way to pedestrians to cross the road anywhere, unless within 50 metres from an authorised crossing point. I found this interesting from a number of perspectives.
As an observer, while a driver may lose out by receiving a fine and points on their licence a pedestrian risks losing a lot more.
As a driver who has lived in France for 15 months and travelled here for years before, I had wrongly assumed that pedestrians had the right of way wherever they were in relation to a crossing. My only doubt was whether that right related to everybody or just those with a baguette in their arms. My approach to driving through “un petit village français” was to assume that anyone would or could step out in front of you at any time. I am rarely disappointed. Now at least the law also says they have to show clear intent; something that rarely happens at the moment. I can think of a clear hand signal I could give that would show clear intent that I wouldnt be stopping.
As a pedestrian who rarely remembers to carry a protective baguette I was sure that crossing a road was akin to suicide anyway, unless it was on a crossing, the road was closed or you had a police blockade to assist you.
So now when I am trying to find a place to cross I have to make sure that I am not less than 50 metres from an authorised crossing point. I also have to psycho-analyze the oncoming driver to see if I believe that he or she has read the same information as me. As men we clearly have a disadvantage as it is known that we are not good at estimating lengths.
Finally however! The genius of this new legislation struck me; the Government has in one stroke created greater income potential and legalised suicide Brilliant!!
It just gets better! Ive just woken up from the nightmare and realise we live in Brittany where we dont get much traffic or many pedestrians, so order is restored.
Please Note: The author wishes to remind you that carrying a baguette is no guarantee of safety when crossing any road.