Ahh, the good ol’ rules of the road…
Getting a driving permis in France is not too much différent than in the U.S.: Les Français also have to take a test; however, in France, driving school is not a part of Lycée (or high school) as it often is in the U.S.
When I visited Chicago in June 2015, I began to wonder: Which country obeys the “rules of the road” the best? I still don’t have an answer. It’s scary driving in France; it’s scary driving in the U.S. But, once you’re confortable with driving in either country, you forget how scary it actually is.
First of all, no one in Chicago obeys the speed limit. When I lived there for the first 27 years of my life, I didn’t think twice about this fact (and, I admit, I participated). In France, very few drivers go 20+ over on the autoroute (aka the tollway/highway/freeway). In Chicago, most drivers are at least going 75mph on I88 from Sugar Grove/Aurora to/from the city (the limit being 55mph). Perhaps, this is due to the very low speed limit; perhaps this is due to everyone being in a hurry… whatever the case, people do it on a regular basis. In France, the autoroute is usually set at 110kmph (70mph) if the weather is bad and 130kmph (80mph) if the weather is fine. So, there really is no reason to speed.
However, in France, the motorcyclists don’t pay any attention to the rules of the road. Sometimes I wonder if they even had to pass a test! But, it’s true, they do. I’ve seen the auto-école of motorcyclists out practicing. However, motorcyclists can be seen driving in between lanes, on sidewalks, on the shoulder… if it’s possible it’ll save them time rather than sitting in traffic then you bet they’re driving on it! It’s dangereux! Not only do you, as a driver, have to watch out for a motorcyclist to creep up on you and cut you off as you enter a rond point, you, as a pedestrian, need to watch out for them, too! I can no longer count the number of close calls that have happened as I’ve walked by Super U (for some reason, they think that the large side-walk is a roadway… um, no, it is NOT!). Hell, even the bicyclists are more conscious drivers than the motorcyclists. And, to be honnête, I’d rather be hit by a bicyclist than a motorcyclist.
They park up on the curb, they bang up their cars as they squeeze into a small spot on the street, they park in pedestrian walkways (this is why France has installed poles everywhere… sometimes, it helps, but not with the motorcyclists!)…
The goal is to find a free spot wherever or a paid spot close to the centre-ville. They even park in the wrong sense!
In France, the police don’t care (at least it seems like they don’t care – Aix would make a ton of money if they towed every car that parked the wrong way, on the curb, or in a spot that’s not a parking spot).
There are similarités and différences between French drivers and Américain drivers; however, one thing remains the same: the motorcyclists own the road in France…
…while the big véhicules own the road in the U.S. ♦
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