Parisian drivers will have to ease off. From Monday, August 30, they will no longer have to exceed the speed of 30 km / h in almost all the streets of the capital, this limitation replacing 50 km / h as the standard in Paris, with rare exceptions such as the boulevard peripheral. “It is first and foremost a measure of road safety and protection of the most vulnerable, pedestrians and cyclists”, explains David Belliard, EELV deputy to the mayor Anne Hidalgo, in charge of transport and mobility.
→ EXPLANATION. Why the City of Paris is betting on a 30 km / h limit
Announced last July, the generalization of 30 km / h in Paris was a campaign promise by candidate Hidalgo in 2020, when this limitation already existed on 60% of the Parisian road network. “We are reaching the end of a process that began fifteen years ago”, continues the elected ecologist. But this choice is not made unanimously. The association 40 million motorists has thus defended a decision “Purely ideological” and an “False good idea”.
An “effective measure”
Among road safety specialists, the subject is no longer debated, especially since the pandemic has prompted more and more urban dwellers to abandon public transport to walk or pedal. “It is absolutely necessary to lower the speed in spaces where very diverse means of locomotion coexist, recalls Anne Lavaud, General Delegate for Road Safety.This is an effective measure for one simple reason: speed is an aggravating factor in all accidents.This will not necessarily limit their number, but they will have less impact. “
The braking distance thus goes from 27.5 meters to 13.5 meters when the speed decreases from 50 to 30 km / h. “In the event of an impact, the risk of death is six times higher at 50 km / h than at 30 km / h”, continues Benoit Hiron, head of the user safety and travel group at the Center for Studies and Expertise on Risks, the Environment, Mobility and Planning (Cerema), a public body placed under the supervision of the ministries of ecological transition and regional cohesion.
Paris thus joins many other municipalities, of various sizes and political colors, the fixing of the maximum speed in the city falling under the police power of the mayors. Fontenay-aux-Roses (Hauts-de-Seine) was one of the first to take the plunge in the 2000s with a socialist majority, a choice then confirmed by a UDI mayor. After Nantes, Sceaux, Grenoble or Lorient, municipalities on the right like Chartres or on the left like Montpellier have preceded the capital this year. “Even villages have set out for their hypercentre”, adds Anne Lavaud.
In this area, France is only catching up with foreign countries. The Netherlands had thus generalized 30 km / h in residential areas from the 1970s. Spain has just imposed it on most urban axes. ” It’s not ideological,this corresponds to a worldwide movement to limit speed in the city ”, underlines the town planner Anne Faure, president of the association “Street of the future” which campaigns for the generalization of 30 km / h in urban areas.
The UN also adopted in 2020 “The Stockholm Declaration”, a document resulting from the third world ministerial conference on road safety which recommends the passage to 30 in the city. While pedestrians are the main victims of fatal accidents in built-up areas, the aging of the population in Western countries is one of the arguments pushed forward by the promoters of the measure.
A “choice of appeasement”
But its interest is not limited to a question of road safety. “It is really a choice of appeasement and improvement of the quality of life”, underlines Catherine Pilon, general secretary of the cycling towns and territories club. The speed limit should indeed encourage the practice of soft mobility, less noisy and polluting. “It is also a public health objective, notes David Belliard. The same movement is underway in all metropolises, which are all facing the same challenges. “
45 dead in 2020
45 people lost their lives in Paris in 2020 in road accidents, including 15 pedestrians, 11 drivers or passengers of vehicles, 11 drivers of two motorized wheels and 8 cyclists. The death toll was 34 killed in 2019 (16 pedestrians) and 36 killed in 2018 (19 pedestrians).
The speed in urban areas was set at 60 km / h in France in 1962, with possible exceptions to 80 km / h, then reduced to 50 km / h in 1990. The same year, the Highway Code allowed the establishment of “zones 30”, where the speed is limited to 30 km / h .