In the village of Bauné, drivers confronted a series of crisscrossed white road lines at a main intersection this month, which the mayor argues has made them slow down.
A small village in western France has a surprising new series of crisscrossing white lines at an intersection of several main roads.
The mayor says it’s a way of encouraging drivers to slow down in an area where the speed limit is supposed to be 20 kph but where drivers can sometimes top 50.
“It is a town of 1,700 inhabitants which is crossed by three main county roads and specifically at this area, there are two. People drive fast and it's complicated to get people to slow down and to have roads signs that work,” said Jean-Charles Prono, the mayor of Loire-Authion, a group of seven villages including Bauné where the intersection is.
It was a discussion among the area's elected officials and the larger metropolitan region of Angers, he added.
The goal is “to make it difficult to read the landscape, that is, to create events that will attract the attention of the driver to say what is happening,” Prono added, saying they could also have added speed bumps but that those can be loud in a village.
‘Not a private garden’
The bizarre configuration has garnered a big reaction in the local press and on social media, with many asking why the town would decide to draw the traffic lines so bizarrely and if they are even allowed to do so.
Many social media users criticised the move, saying it would likely confuse drivers instead of forcing them to drive slower.
“Is the mayor ok…it’s not his private garden,” one social media user commented on a post including photos of the new configuration.
One user called it “stupid and dangerous” while another asked where the pedestrians could cross the road amidst all the lines.
Prono said the configuration is not “final” but that the elected officials wanted to do something quickly that can work to slow drivers down now.
“At the moment, it’s working,” he added, with drivers being observed as slowing down at the intersection.
“I am aware that it can be disorienting and that we need to be careful, especially with older people,” he said.
EU aims to halve road accident deaths by 2030
In 2022, around 20,600 people were killed in road crashes in the EU, with around 52 per cent of road traffic fatalities on rural roads in 2021. Another 39 per cent were in urban areas and 9 per cent were on motorways.
The European Commission aims to halve the number of deaths in road accidents by 2030 by ensuring safe vehicles, infrastructure and road use and confronting trends such as distracted driving.
"Driving at excessive or inappropriate speed is a major threat to safety on the road," according to a report from the European Road Safety Observatory.
"It is estimated that 10 to 15% of all crashes and 30% of all fatal crashes are the direct result of speeding or inappropriate speed".
In Europe, the safest roads are in Sweden and Denmark while Romania and Bulgaria have the highest road fatality rates.