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Council in suburb of French capital takes temporary measure after drivers encroach on cycling facility

Cyclists near Paris are demanding that speed bumps installed on a cycle path in a suburb of the French capital be ripped up – although the local council says that they have been put there to protect bike riders from motorists.

Last week, a local blogger and cycling campaigner posted pictures online of the speed bumps, asking: “We all know the expression metter les batons dans les roues [to throw a spoke in the wheels].

“But we’ve just discovered an equally dangerous lunacy in Montmagny comprising bars fixed in place across a cycle path. We’re writing to the mayor to demand that he remedy this mess as soon as possible.”

The cycle path is on Rue Pelletier in Montmagny, Val d’Oise, around 5 kilometres north of central Paris.

The speed bumps, each 10 centimetres high, were put there in December, reports Le Parisien, because motorists would drive onto the cycle path especially when there was a bus stopped on the street.

Local resident, Valerie Leteignier, said that created danger not just for cyclists, but also for people living on the street itself.

"Some cars did not wait for the bus to leave and would pass on the cycle path and the pavement,” she said.

“It’s happened that my daughter, coming out of our house, has found herself face to face with a car and has been beeped!"

After a cyclist was run over by a driver on the cycle path, the local council decided to act.

The mayor of Montmagny, Patrick Floquet, said that the speed bumps had been installed in response to an “emergency” situation, and that a kerb to prevent vehicles encroaching on the cycle path will be put in place in the spring.

The temporary measures took some locals by surprise, though. Madame Leteignier said: "At a public meeting last year, the deputy mayor talked about setting up small studs but not such speed bumps. This condemns the cycle path.”

One cyclist who often rides down the street added: “It’s really weird. We can’t ride along it on the bike, so we’re forced to ride in the way of pedestrians, or otherwise on the road.”

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

24 comments

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Christopher TR1 [141 posts] 8 months ago
8 likes

That is just bonkers!

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psling [255 posts] 8 months ago
26 likes
Christopher TR1 wrote:

That is just bonkers!

 

Madder than a box of ... oh, hang on.

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riotgibbon [231 posts] 8 months ago
1 like
Madame Leteignier wrote:

This condemns the cycle path.

I love French idioms. I can just imagine Madame denouncing the deputy mayor for his gross ineptitude. The spirit of  Louise Michel lives on!

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KendalRed [92 posts] 8 months ago
2 likes

If that were over here, we'd be lucky if the councils did anything at all to address the problem, so good on the Parisien council for acting on this. Damned if you do, damned if you don't!

Admittedly it does, in effect, reduce the space to about 25-30% of the original width, but there still looks to be room to get past without encroaching on the footpath (although with more than one cyclist at a time it would be practically impossible). I suppose the speed bumps need to be that wide in order to prevent cars straddling the kerb/bump.

I think if it's just temporary until a higher kerb is provided, then it's not too much to ask is it?

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dassie [119 posts] 8 months ago
5 likes

I know where I'd be cycling...

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brooksby [2581 posts] 8 months ago
11 likes
Quote:

The speed bumps, each 10 centimetres high, were put there in December, reports Le Parisien, because motorists would drive onto the cycle path especially when there was a bus stopped on the street.

Ten centimetres high! Bl**dy heck.

Couldn't the council have just put bollards up to protect the cycle lane, rather than putting something in place which I personally would consider extremely dangerous as well as being rather inconvenient.

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thx1138 [64 posts] 8 months ago
1 like
Christopher TR1 wrote:

That is just bonkers!

...and they've given cyclists enough room to cycle around them whilst still being within the cycle lane. Bonkers indeed.

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Yorkshire wallet [1430 posts] 8 months ago
2 likes

Just think of how much protection the cyclists would have if they didn't bother cycling!

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Creaky Joints [4 posts] 8 months ago
9 likes

Why don't they just turn them 90 degrees?

 

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seiklmeikl [12 posts] 8 months ago
2 likes

Wonder if Copenhagen-style kerbs would help.

 

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Wolfshade [200 posts] 8 months ago
7 likes
Creaky Joints wrote:

Why don't they just turn them 90 degrees?

I was just thinking the same, like the armadillos

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frogg [104 posts] 8 months ago
7 likes

I can't stop laughing , and the comments don't help !

(disclaimer I'm French)

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ktache [627 posts] 8 months ago
2 likes

Surely they should be running alongside the cycle route not across it.

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fenix [742 posts] 8 months ago
3 likes
Wolfshade wrote:
Creaky Joints wrote:

Why don't they just turn them 90 degrees?

I was just thinking the same, like the armadillos

 

That would be fine - but if you accidentally hit them - you'll be going down.

 

I can see WHY they have done it - but it's not the solution. 

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StraelGuy [1034 posts] 8 months ago
2 likes

Are all French commuters expected to cycle to work on full suspension mountain bikes now?!

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ChrisB200SX [516 posts] 8 months ago
1 like

Looks like the cycle lane is now not as wide as an actual bike, amazing. Would it have been too difficult to put these obstructions in the suitably wide carriageway instead?

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PaulBox [675 posts] 8 months ago
1 like
KendalRed wrote:

If that were over here, we'd be lucky if the councils did anything at all to address the problem, so good on the Parisien council for acting on this. Damned if you do, damned if you don't!

Admittedly it does, in effect, reduce the space to about 25-30% of the original width, but there still looks to be room to get past without encroaching on the footpath (although with more than one cyclist at a time it would be practically impossible). I suppose the speed bumps need to be that wide in order to prevent cars straddling the kerb/bump.

I think if it's just temporary until a higher kerb is provided, then it's not too much to ask is it?

Are you by any chance involved in local politics?

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Jem PT [139 posts] 8 months ago
2 likes
Creaky Joints wrote:

Why don't they just turn them 90 degrees?

 

That wouldn't stop French drivers, especially Parisiens!

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Paul_C [511 posts] 8 months ago
6 likes

Should have put in a camera(s) with ANPR and raised some money... after all, they are committing an offence by going out of their lane

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ktache [627 posts] 8 months ago
4 likes
Paul_C wrote:

Should have put in a camera(s) with ANPR and raised some money... after all, they are committing an offence by going out of their lane

Reading started to enforce it's bus lanes, and I believe purely council led, attitudes changed very quickly.  All those people who before would break the law with impunity, started to decide not to do it.  I now smile and wave at them.

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jh27 [96 posts] 8 months ago
1 like
Creaky Joints wrote:

Why don't they just turn them 90 degrees?

On which axis? Ninety degrees upwards, so they are studying on end would be alright - much like the plastic bollards that they seem to be keen on in the US

These bumps don't leave a lot of space to cycle in, even if you were right next to them, your handle bars would probably encroach over the pavement. If you had to swerve to avoid a child, animal or podestrian, you'd like come flying off into the traffic.

On the other hand, most could drive over them without doing significant damage to their vehicle, particularly if they drive a Chelsea tractor.

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Rapha Nadal [606 posts] 8 months ago
4 likes

Paris Roubaix actually starts in Paris this year but they couldn't get permission lay down a section of pave in the city centre.  This was the next best thing.

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ConcordeCX [431 posts] 8 months ago
1 like
riotgibbon wrote:
Madame Leteignier wrote:

This condemns the cycle path.

I love French idioms. I can just imagine Madame denouncing the deputy mayor for his gross ineptitude. The spirit of  Louise Michel lives on!

that translation is too literal. It just means that it blocks the path, or makes it useless.

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RMurphy195 [113 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

You couldn't make it up, could you!