Road (un)safety in France

<Photo of a man painting roads in rural France (thanks to Richie ->Here’s a man who loves his job. He’s painting the white lines on the road and waving to the camera with a big smile. The lovely Richie sent me this photo last week from Morzine, a few days after I had seen a similar contraption on the road in La Clusaz.

France provides serious safety measures when road works are going on. Some readers may have seen the lovely mechanical mannequin waving his arms up and down on the 130km-per-hour highways in an effort to slow traffic down before roadworks. On the tiniest of back roads, these safety measures are followed, with temporary traffic lights and bits of the road cordoned off.

However, this isn’t roadwork in the same sense. The road is intact. This seems to mean no road safety measures are required.

Crawling up the middle of the road and in the way of both oncoming traffic and cars and trucks behind him too, the driver has nothing but an orange flashing light to alert people of his special presence. At least he doesn’t have to concentrate on painting the road as well (there’s a man in a reflective yellow vest in the: I can’t help feeling they should switch clothing).

Judging by the state of the road, this is not a road that the Tour de France has been through recently. I doubt any cyclists are on that road today, as the snow is dumping here in the French Alps. Just two weeks ago, I was in summer dresses and sandal. I’m guessing that man isn’t smiling as much today if he’s outside working.


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I'm a technical author, journalist and writer from Australia who has been living in Europe since 2000 and exploring the world from there. My passions are writing, snow sports and travel.

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5 comments on “Road (un)safety in France
  1. Michelle says:

    The number of times I’ve had a near accident because of “mobile roadworks” in France is unbelievable! You get 2 seconds warning, and the workers just casually jaunt down the motorway where people are driving 130km/h! There must be some scary statistics about the numbers of roadworkers killed each year?!

  2. Steph says:

    Gosh, you guys are posh! We don’t have one of those in Creuse. It’s done the old fashioned way with one guy and his little pushalong wheel thing! Even more dangerous probably!

  3. Wendy says:

    Michelle, I think you’re right about some scary stas. There must be loads. Steph, possibly even more around your way!

  4. Mandy says:

    Oh my, you’ve just reminded me of the truly creepy mannequin we saw on the road through France to Bruges! It was very… disturbing!

    I’ll reserve judgement on French roadworks. In South Africa there were taxis found to have cardboard for brake disks and roads are notoriously deadly. Most other places seem civilised in comparison.

  5. Wendy says:

    Yes Mandy, these mannequins are *very* disturbing, but not as disturbing as the thought of cardboard brake discs. Oh my!

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About me

Wendy Hollands writer in Annecy, France

I'm an experienced technical writer based in the French Alps. I enjoy learning French language nuances, winter sports and travel. Drop by, my other site.

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