les Davey de France

Alan and Pat live and work in Bordeaux. Alan is a pastor and Pat was a nurse. Now we work with UFM worldwide. Read on! (If you'd like to know what took us to Bordeaux, then start with the archives from September 2004)

Tuesday, January 04, 2022

Bordeaux à 30kph

 The city seems to have accepted the classy steel and glass conical sculpture commissioned from a local artist that was erected in place of a Christmas tree, judging by the crowds that always seemed to be present  after dark, taking photos and generally admiring it.

Now the whole city has imposed a 30 kph limit, except for the major roads into the city and the inner ring road, which stay at 50kph. 50 kph is about 30 mph, and 30 kph is about 20 mph.

They want to make the city safer. At 50 kph if you knock down a pedestrian the probability of killing them is at about 80%. At 30 kph this falls to about 10%. Surprising, no?

They also want to make the city more welcoming for pedestrians. Crossing busy streets full of cars doing 50kph is one thing. Crossing busy streets where cars and bikes are doing roughly the same speed is quite another. In addition, of course, more of the city centre is being pedestrianised, too.

They also want to encourage cycling. Bordeaux has already seen a huge increase in the number of people cycling since covid started, and those quiet streets and healthier people speak for themselves.

I'd already been struck by the difference between Bordeaux and some other cities we've visited, where wide roads cut through the centre and cars seem to dominate. Thankfully Bordeaux has largely retained its awkward mediaeval street layout, which makes driving a nightmare but walking a delight. 

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