France was a late starter with regard to roundabouts which were only introduced in the late 1970s. But the determination to catch up has seen the number of roundabouts mushroom from 500 to 32,000 in the last 20 years. Early on there was a decade long struggle to decide who should have priority and at one point the government said each region could make its choice. This was a recipe for disaster so it was decided that drivers already on the roundabout had to give way to their right. This caused total gridlock so nowadays France usually conforms to the system used by the rest of the world where traffic on the roundabout has priority.
Unfortunately French drivers do not seem to have decided what to do if there is more than one lane. Some stick to the inside lane, all the while indicating left, before finding a gap in the outside lane to suddenly exit right.
Work in progress
Today we got a new roundabout. There has long been calls for some traffic calming measure as people driving between Cluny and Cortambert do not seem to take into account when passing through our hamlet that children, cats and ponies, cyclists and walkers might also be on the road. The junction by the Cross is particularly dangerous as it is impossible to see round the corner of the old cafe if anything is coming the other way. So hopefully our roundabout will slow the traffic down and any mishap will involve glancing blows rather than a nasty head on crash.
Chris practising going round the right way
At least with a roundabout the tourists will be able to go round and round while trying to decide which is the road to Cluny. We are lacking in direction signs which will be a plus if we are ever invaded by the enemy but makes life rather difficult meanwhile for the lost visitors. We are on a junction and people even stop and ring at the door to ask the way. Our neighbour who lives by the new roundabout is quite proud of being able to give people directions in several languages.
Street names is another gripe. We were recently given street names but the handmade plaques, although extremely pretty, are impossible to see. So white van man still has to phone and ask where we are.
Anyway we will have to see if the new roundabout has any effect or if the usual French aversion to authority prevails and everyone just runs straight over the top of it at the same speed as before. Bonne circulation!