Protests in France show success, or just to calm down?

As reported, weaving through traffic jams has been banned and made a punishable offense for motorcyclists in France, triggering protests across the country last weekend. Those protests now seem to be having an effect, though the emphasis might be on “seem.”


Rising accident figures – ban introduced

A 5-year traffic trial was conducted on certain routes in France that allowed lane splitting. The result of this trial was a 12 percent increase in accident rates involving two-wheeled motor vehicles. As soon as the results were published, it was announced that another traffic trial would be conducted.

Politicians reacted immediately to the figures of the first study and banned filtering. It must be said that until then it was tolerated on other routes. Strictly speaking, there was no regulation on this at all until then. The newly introduced ban threatened a fine of €135 and three points if you filter in a traffic jam. This led to protests by thousands of motorcyclists throughout France.


Second traffic trial announced

Now it is announced that a second traffic trial will be carried out. Which routes will be affected has not yet been announced, but the area is said to be larger than in the first trial. Also how long it will last this time has not been announced yet. It is expected to start in June this year.

This second trial is expected to be more conclusive than the first, as the company also wants to find out what conditions need to be created to make lane splitting safe. The first thing they want to do is put signs on the appropriate routes to indicate lane splitting. This was missed at the first attempt, which in reverse means that many on the relevant routes did not even know to expect passing motorcyclists in a traffic jam.


Just a diversionary tactic to prevent further protests?

The question currently remains open as to how the newly introduced ban will be dealt with outside the routes of the study. At the moment, it looks as if filtering will continue to be banned there, with the threat of a fine if you try to weave your way through the traffic jam anyway.

Which in turn raises the question of whether the announcement of the second traffic trial is just meant to calm people down so they won’t go out on the road anymore. In this case, people took to the streets because of the threat of fines, and the second traffic trial was actually planned anyway. However, it could now be used to suggest that the government is giving in, keeping the fines and giving people the feeling that it is responding to their wishes or is willing to compromise. – Because, strictly speaking, it looks like the current situation hasn’t changed at all…


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