France: 15,000 Cops On The Road – Rallycross Belgium

NEWS: Police will be out in force on French roads this weekend. A new racing circuit in Belgium throws open its doors for the first time.

GIBRALTAR FRONTIER WATCH: hovering between 15-30mins most of the day.

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FRANCE: 15,000 SPEED COPS ON THE ROADS

Increased police presence for the two most deadly months.

When is it raining in France? Perennial confusion surrounds the point at which drivers must slow down, as shown in the sign above. The legislation is not clear. It merely notes that, ‘In case of rain or other precipitation, the maximum speed is lowered to 110kmh.’ Much is left to the judgement of the police officer. It’s certainly raining when windscreen wipers are used continuously but what about intermittent wipers? We say if the road is already wet then slow down. If the road is dry, then… Either way, the gains and losses can be significant.

When is it raining in France? Perennial confusion surrounds the point at which drivers must slow down, as shown in the sign above. As @BenSamuelson says, ‘When it’s just spotting with rain, it’d seem daft to lose 20 km/h unnecessarily.’ The legislation is not clear. It merely notes that, ‘In case of rain or other precipitation, the maximum speed is lowered to 110kmh.’ Much is left to the judgement of the police officer. It’s certainly raining when windscreen wipers are used continuously but what about intermittent wipers? We say if the road is already wet then slow down. If the road is dry, then… Either way, the gains and losses can be significant.

Road deaths rose again in France in June compared to the same month last year but, again, not by as much as feared.

Fatalities increased by 3.8% last month as against a cut of 10.4% in June 2013 when new unmarked camera cars had initially led to large drops in the number of serious accidents. The effect however quickly wore off.

Overall, the first half of 2014 saw the number of fatal accidents grow by 7.9% compared to the same period in 2013 following rises of 28% in March, 8% in April and 15% in May.

According to Securite Routiere, forty percent of the increase in road deaths are cyclists and pedestrians.

Ahead of the 14 July Bastille Day holiday weekend, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve warns drivers that nearly 15,000 gendarmes and police officers will be on the roads though he didn’t say how many are present normally.

July and August normally account for 20% of fatal traffic accidents in France. Traffic levels this weekend are expected to be raised though not at their worst.

Traffic police took the opportunity in a Sunday Times article last month to deny they specifically target UK registered cars though the received wisdom says 50% of those committing speeding offences in France in the summer are from abroad.

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A new racing circuit in Belgium sees its first competitive event this weekend. The Jules Tacheny Circuit in Mettet, a few miles south east of Charleroi, hosts the third round of this year’s FIA European Rallycross Championship. The 1030m track is one third gravel and the rest asphalt. Local former WRC driver Francois Duval makes a guest appearance alongside series regulars WRC champ Petter Solberg and F1 champ Jacques Villeneuve.

A new racing circuit in Belgium sees its first competitive event this weekend. The Jules Tacheny Circuit in Mettet, a few miles south east of Charleroi, hosts the third round of this year’s FIA European Rallycross Championship, Friday to Sunday. The 1030m track is one third gravel and the rest asphalt. Local former WRC driver Francois Duval makes a guest appearance alongside series regulars WRC champ Petter Solberg and F1 champ Jacques Villeneuve. UPDATE: 25,000 spectators watched the racing, ultimately won by up and coming 23-year old Finn VW driver Topi Heikkinen. Petter Solberg retired, but still leads the championship, while Jacques Villeneuve crashed out. Duval impressed with his pace but finished outside the top twelve.

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