French cities to start enforcing lanes reserved for carpooling

The Local France
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French cities to start enforcing lanes reserved for carpooling
French cities to begin enforcing carpooling lanes. Illustration Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

Six cities across France - Lyon, Lille, Grenoble, Strasbourg, Nantes and Rennes - have begun experimenting with enforcing the proper usage of carpool lanes.


The test phase for enforcement began in September in Strasbourg, Nantes and Rennes - the latest cities to add carpooling signs to their motorways.

READ MORE: The new French road sign that can net you a €135 fine if you ignore it

Lasting two years, the test phase will allow local authorities to experiment with new methods of enforcing respect of the lanes.

The lanes marked with the carpool sign are intended to only be used by: Vehicles with at least two occupants (including motorbikes with a pillion passenger);  Vehicles with a Crit'Air zero emission sticker (ie electric cars); Taxis (even if there are no occupants on board); and buses and other public transport vehicles.

READ MORE: Crit'Air: How France's vehicle emissions stickers work

In some cases, the lane (or lanes) will only be reserved for certain times of day, and generally it will be the left-hand lane on motorways in order to limit disturbances that could be caused with exit lanes and passing.


As such, there will be two variations of the sign. The first version is only meant for certain hours of the day, which is indicated either by the sign lighting up over the lane when active, or standing at the side of the road with a time slot indicated on it.

How the enforcement will work

The French government proposed that local authorities define their own enforcement policies during the two-year trial period, which can include issuing fines. Currently, the fixed fine is €135 for failing to respect the rules of a carpool lane.

Local authorities are permitted to use radar and cameras to record offences, and when this is done, one or more signs should be installed in the area to inform drivers that they have entered an enforcement area and could be liable to a fine.

The French government wrote in Service-Public that the goal with the two-year trial phase will be to determine the most effective system for ensuring that the reserved carpooling lanes are properly used.

According to Reporterre, at least 12 radar devices have been deployed to the six cities that have instituted the carpooling lanes.


While enforcement will vary by city to city, the trial phase is also intended to teach motorists to respect the signs. 

The head of management for inter-departmental roads in western France, Fabric Chagnot, told Reporterre that they "won't start issuing fines from the outset." 

"There will be a period of adjustment. For the time being, we're mainly going to be educating people to make sure they understand the new signs".


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