Paris Sets Draconian Citywide 30 km/h Speed Limit

The early days of motoring, back in the late 19th century, saw the introduction of speed limits. After all, people were operating their new fangled horseless carriages at ludicrous speeds, exceeding 10 mph in some cases!

Obviously things have changed since then — or have they? RFI reports the city of Paris, France, has just set a citywide speed limit of 30 km/h. That’s 19 mph, barely more than some of the speed limits of the 19th century. The goal, then as well as now, was to improve pedestrian safety, as well as cyclists. (Horses are kind of rare in the city these days.) It’s a growing trend across Europe, though, and elsewhere as well. Last week I stayed in Amesbury, Massachusetts, which just set a 25 mph limit across the entire town. By some strange coincidence, I saw numerous speed traps during my travels around town, on roads designed to safely handle speeds greater than 25.

Let’s remember how things used to be in Paris with this whirlwind tour from Rendezvous, where Claude Lelouch might have broken a speed limit or two himself during filming…

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