My tips for cycling in France

PaulSB

Legendary Member
Having also just returned from the Pyrenees I popped in to post PAD is alive and well, much to my surprise. Although well aware of the rule I don't think I've encountered it in more than 20 years and was of the opinion it had largely died out.

I can't recall seeing the above yellow road signs before and certainly not last week. Thanks for the info.
 

Shut Up Legs

Down Under Member
As I'm heading to the French Alps shortly for another cycling trip (leaving the house in a few hours! :hyper:), I revisited the page on priorité à droite, and on reading it more closely than before, realised that roundabouts in France are divided into 2 types: those in which vehicles entering the roundabout give way to those in the roundabout (a typical USA or Australian system), and those in which the reverse applies! :wacko: I remember the latter type, but don't recall seeing the former type (indicated by the arrows in a circle inside a triangle sign), but now I'll watch for it to see if I can spot any while over there.

Here's the page link again: https://www.autoeurope.com/travel-guides/france/france-road-signs/
 

Vertego

Just reflecting on the meaning of life.
Location
North Hampshire
As I'm heading to the French Alps shortly for another cycling trip (leaving the house in a few hours! :hyper:), I revisited the page on priorité à droite, and on reading it more closely than before, realised that roundabouts in France are divided into 2 types: those in which vehicles entering the roundabout give way to those in the roundabout (a typical USA or Australian system), and those in which the reverse applies! :wacko: I remember the latter type, but don't recall seeing the former type (indicated by the arrows in a circle inside a triangle sign), but now I'll watch for it to see if I can spot any while over there.

Here's the page link again: https://www.autoeurope.com/travel-guides/france/france-road-signs/
I have a recollection of a trip to France in 1988. Such roundabouts were designed to confuse, I'm sure. We even encountered one roundabout in an industrial estate at Toulouse that was a 'hybrid' - there was a mix of priority on the roundabout and priority to traffic entering the roundabout. What fun!
 

Dogtrousers

Kilometre nibbler
As I'm heading to the French Alps shortly for another cycling trip (leaving the house in a few hours! :hyper:), I revisited the page on priorité à droite, and on reading it more closely than before, realised that roundabouts in France are divided into 2 types: those in which vehicles entering the roundabout give way to those in the roundabout (a typical USA or Australian system), and those in which the reverse applies! :wacko: I remember the latter type, but don't recall seeing the former type (indicated by the arrows in a circle inside a triangle sign), but now I'll watch for it to see if I can spot any while over there.

Here's the page link again: https://www.autoeurope.com/travel-guides/france/france-road-signs/
Interesting. I think all the roundabouts I that use in France are of the "normal" (to a Brit) type (ie vehicle on roundabout has priority). I'll look out for the signs on approach.

The page says "most traditional roundabouts in France use this [vehicle joining has priority] priority system". I think all the roundabouts I'm familiar with are relatively new infrastructure, so I guess that's why they're "normal". I can't think of anything that I'm familiar with that would be described as a "traditional roundabout".

Still I'll be alert and add it to my list of things to be cautious about next time.

Edit. Found another website that says https://about-france.com/highway-code.htm

Roundabouts: in 99.9% of cases, priority is indicated. Traffic already on a roundabout has priority over traffic entering it.... so no priority to the right here. EXCEPT at some big urban roundabouts such as the place de l'Etoile on the Champs Elysées in Paris, where it is priority to traffic entering, or trying to enter, the roundabout system.

So that means that 99.9% of the time priority is "normal" (ie vehicle on roundabout has priority). Which would align with my experience.

Unless that is, I've been following the wrong set of rules and all the local French people are too polite and reticent to let me know. Which I feel is somewhat unlikely ;)
 
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wotsthat

Regular
Location
southwark
An interesting read. I do like to read the perspective of others non-French French residents, there's often a great deal I can empathise with or at least recognise. I've lived in France for 4 years now and am starting to settle to it (that is, what was once foreign is becoming the norm and taken for granted). I do still try to make allowances for difference and try not to be judgemental but I'll admit it is difficult sometimes!

Priorité à droite can catch you out. Fortunately for me, it's not that often that it is an issue - since where I live is rural so there is very little traffic. It's worth keeping in mind that in rural France, many people do drive as if there'll be nothing coming the other way, or crossing an unmarked junction at the same time. You can understand why - usually they're right! So don't be surprised to see something coming towards you in the middle of the road! That is simply how many people drive. It's regularly remarked upon by ex-pat Brits but completely unremarkable as far as the French are concerned - vive la difference eh!

I can see the sense in priorité à driote in some situations. Where 2 roads of equal significance cross in the middle of the nowhere (both are 'main' roads, who is to say which is the 'route principale?) then priorité à driote is a clear and unambiguous rule.

But equally there are situations where I am completely dumbfounded as to the wisdom of it... in towns particularly. Yes, you should stop to allow traffic to join from a side road! I know it's only my perspective but my lord it seems weird!
Must admit to being confused by the bit about Hunters - please explain - Thank you
 

robing

Über Member
I find those stop signs everywhere in French towns annoying and illogical. All drivers completely stop even when the roads are clear. Sometimes where you stop you still cannot see past the junction anyway until you pull forward.
 

Dogtrousers

Kilometre nibbler
Recently back from my annual jaunt to France. My top tip for cycling in France is: DO IT. It's great.

Now home, I did a long ride on Sunday on the pothole infested, rutted, chip-n-sealed, crumbling British roads with asinine close-passing British drivers. What a comedown.

As to driving in France, on two lane highways why do people keep their indicators going after changing lanes to overtake a slower vehicle? Does it have some additional meaning like "I'm just overtaking this lorry and when I'm done I'll be going back to the inside lane" or something like that?
 

Shut Up Legs

Down Under Member
Recently back from my annual jaunt to France. My top tip for cycling in France is: DO IT. It's great.

Now home, I did a long ride on Sunday on the pothole infested, rutted, chip-n-sealed, crumbling British roads with asinine close-passing British drivers. What a comedown.

As to driving in France, on two lane highways why do people keep their indicators going after changing lanes to overtake a slower vehicle? Does it have some additional meaning like "I'm just overtaking this lorry and when I'm done I'll be going back to the inside lane" or something like that?
I can relate to that. As soon as I arrived back in Australia in late July, I just wanted to turn around and head back to the French Alps. :sad:
 

mistyoptic

Well-Known Member
Location
Staffordshire
We are just back from doing the Velodysee from Roscoff to Spanish border on a tandem

We were amazed at the readiness of drivers to stop and allow us to cross the road at junctions/roundabouts and where the route swaps to the other side of the road.

Did get sworn at one day for riding wrong way up a one way on the road instead of the pavement. My bad
 
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