Paris limits car speeds to 30 km/h to reduce accidents and pollution

French authorities expect the streets of Paris to be safer, quieter and less polluted from this Monday (30), with the entry into force of a new speed limit for drivers of 30 km/h.

The city wants to encourage walking, cycling and the use of public transport, deputy mayor David Belliard told Franceinfo radio. The new speed limit should help reduce pollution, noise and the number of serious accidents, he said.

“This is not an anti-car measure,” Belliard said.

The 30 km/h limit already applies to about 60% of the Paris area, but it will now cover the entire city. However, some main roads, such as the Champs Elysees, will be exempt, with the speed limit remaining at 50 km/h.

“We want to limit (vehicles) to essential travel,” said Belliard.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who won a second six-year term in 2020, built miles of new bike lanes, banned old diesel cars and made the banks of the Seine car-free. It is also reducing parking spaces in the city in an attempt to limit car traffic.

The city said police will be lenient in enforcing the new speed limit for the first few weeks. Other French cities with a speed limit of 30 km/h include Bordeax, Strasbourg and Toulouse.