paris musings – rules of the road

There are none.

Or should I say, there maybe, but they seem discretionary.

Roundabouts

As a cyclist, it’s quite important to understand – Give way to the right, give way to those on the roundabout…give way to those wanting to enter the roundabout….never encountered that one before. But as I was cycling with gusto around a fairly large “Porte” I noticed that my fellow travelers were all stopping mid-roundabout to let new vehicles enter. I got to work (in one piece thank goodness) and asked a colleague who drives: “Those on the roundabout have right of way.”

I recounted my near death incident and he amended his statement…”Ah yes, some roundabouts you have to give way to those entering…”

“How do you know which type of roundabout you are on?”

“You just do!”

Zebra Crossings

Don’t EVER expect a french driver to stop for you. Even at a cross walk, even with a child, even near a school, even in the pouring rain. Rarely will a Parisian driver yield to a pedestrian. Move forward with caution.

Curbing & poop-a-scooping

Parisians don’t give a shit.

On a street between my bus-stop and the office (400 meters) I have counted up to 20 poops on one pass. Incredible! It’s a dodge and a weave dance all the way down the sidewalk passing the most incredible variety of messes. The same is true on my way to school – which annoys me even more- what about the kids running, tripping, falling with gay abandon??!!

Parking

If the car fits, hell, even if it doesn’t fit, Parisians will park their car there. At an angle, on a cross walk, sticking out, 2 foot away from the curb…stop the car. get out. see you later.

Speeding

On the highways, long vast open stretches of road, your favorite soundtrack playing …. don’t!

I’ve never had a speeding ticket in my life, yet last summer I got zapped with three from their speeding camera system. luckily the fine correlates to how much over the speed limit you were going, so I was only in teir 1 – still…

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