Tomorrow, is the First of July and although this might mean nothing to most of the world, us lot living in France are going to notice a huge change. The French government, in their wisdom, is changing the base speed limit on non motorway roads without a central reservation or barrier. The limit is going from 90kph, about 56mph and dropping to 80kph or 50mph.
The new stealth tax
“So what?” you might say, but it is not so much the difference in speed that is annoying it is why they are doing it. They say that recently the amount of injuries caused by motoring accidents has begun to rise and they need to reverse the trend. Nobody can argue with that if that is the truth but I believe that this drop in speed won’t make a blind bit of difference, it is too small. People will still drive over the speed limit; it is just that when they are caught by the speed cameras they will have to pay a bigger fine. To me it is a stealth tax and it is not the only one aimed at us over here. They have now introduced unmarked speed camera cars that are run by private companies. The civilian driver is given a planned route and he drives that route in a car equipped with speed camera tech which records what the other road users are doing. The French government says that the companies involved will have no access to the data stored by the vehicle, only the police will have that, but in this world of results driven success I am a bit uncomfortable with anyone policing me for profit.
If the French government wants to cut accidents it would be better served changing the stupid junctions that allow priority to vehicles entering a road when they come from a junction on the right, sometimes! That vagueness is lethal; in a town 80% might be normal junctions, then you come across a small area where those leaving a housing estate have priority over the main road running through it. They could also enforce the laws about mobile phone use while driving, which I reckon will become more common place with the lower speed limit as people tend to look at their phones when they are driving slowly.
Anyway it is not all doom and gloom, Steve McQueen’s Triumph TR6R from the great escape has managed to escape from its hideout and is going to be on show at Blenheim Palace at the Salon Privé event held there. The bike was made famous in the final scene of The Great Escape, where McQueen’s character tries to escape by jumping the bike over a barbed wire fence. Since 1963 the bike has only been seen by visitors to the Triumph Factory but now you can pay £295 to attend the Salon Privé and see it in the flesh…..or you can pay £15 and get a visit to the Triumph Factory and see it there…your choice!
Talking of famous Triumphs, the 1949 Triumph Trophy TR500 used by Fonzie in Happy Days has been sold at auction for $179 000. Not to be outdone a 1987 army green Harley Davidson FLSTC Heritage Softail Classic owned by Arnold Schwarzenegger sold for $38,400, probably still cheaper than buying one new over here with the new tariffs the EU has announced!!
I am off to play in the sun and hopefully not get caught speeding!