I don't believe it....!

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I don't believe it....!

Post by baldlygo on Sat Feb 15, 2014 9:03 pm

Two weeks ago after turning left at junction onto a road where I had never been before I was stopped by the Gendarmes and was given a 90 euro fine for driving over a solid white line. In fairness I should add that one of my passengers in the rear seat did not have his seat belt on – this second offence might have tipped the balance!

The junction involved can be seen on Google Street View - CLICK HERE.

I stopped at the stop line ready to turn left. There had been no warning signs that the road I was joining was divided into 3 lanes (two from the left, the other from the right). Neither were there any signs to say “No left turn”. At the junction neither lane had a continuous white line. There were no other vehicles present – if there had been then I might have understood the lanes better before turning.

As I turned left down the road I found myself in the middle lane and became aware of a continuous white line on my right. Soon after this I noted other white lines on the other outer side of the continuous white line – these reinforced my initial understanding that I should stay in the center lane and not drive over the solid white and shaded lines on my right (with hindsight these lines were slowing down lines). I stayed in the centre lane for another 50 meters or so until I realised from other marking that I had driven down the wrong lane.  I immediately crossed over to the right and then was stopped by the Gendarmes.

I was tempted to appeal against the fine (and 3 points) but a good French friend has advised that my word would never be taken above that of a Gendarme!. Furthermore our French friend stressed that I should NEVER have turned left at this junction in the first place !!! (because it was impossible to turn left without crossing a solid white line). ok – I admit it may be nearly 40 years since I studied any highway code but I have managed 40 years and several 100 thousand miles in France and UK with no more than two minor speeding offenses – (recently in France!). I cannot believe what my French friend has told me is true!! How could you signal your intention to turn if you don't know which way you are allowed before you reach a junction!!

As a result of the above problem I have now been ordered to get a French driving license (so they can deduct the points!). This process is underway at the moment – this is also proving over complicated – why do they need to know the actual address and postcode of the hospital I was born in? I don't believe that either! I have already had to pay 50euros for a translation of my present UK European Driving License – 5euros for 4 photographs – and I have yet to go to Limoges Prefecture and pay for my new French license!

So what do other people think?

Paul & Cathie
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Re: I don't believe it....!

Post by Higgy on Sun Feb 16, 2014 7:27 am

Very pedantic, you did drive on the wrong side but I would
imagine without endangering other road users.

Possibly a favourite spot for nicking motorists, with regard to having
to apply for a French Driving Licence, do you live in France full time and for how long ?

Pick on the motorists as they are easy prey with very little come back.

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Re: I don't believe it....!

Post by lady of leisure on Sun Feb 16, 2014 8:21 am

I changed my licence over at gueret , very simple and cost 37 euros, no translation required and just 2 photos. This was a couple of years ago so it may have changed. GOOD LUCK

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Re: I don't believe it....!

Post by baldlygo on Sun Feb 16, 2014 10:39 am

The license system has changed since 2 years ago. I did visit Bellac last year hoping to get a French license but only managed to get forms and a list of official translators (must be official and the nearest was 40 miles away Sad). Since my UK license was still valid I gave up at the time. I did wonder why my UK EUROPEAN licence had to be translated by a specially trained French translator.

Does anyone agree with my French friend that I should not have turned left at all at this junction  Question Exclamation
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Re: I don't believe it....!

Post by Richard T on Sun Feb 16, 2014 11:58 am

baldlygo wrote:Does anyone agree with my French friend that I should not have turned left at all at this junction  Question Exclamation
"Should not" is not the same as "must not".

From the image you linked to in your original post (and using the Google feature which allows you to manipulate the image) the main road was already a three lane road in both directions and there was a break in the solid white line immediately opposite the junction which would allow you to cross into the right hand lane without driving over a solid white line. You appear to have ended up driving in the face of oncoming traffic leaving the roundabout (although, as you say, there was none at the time) which was potentially quite dangerous. To be honest I don't think you would have had a leg to stand on had you appealed.

But maybe what your French friend meant is that had you had the foresight to anticipate the sneakiness of the gendarmes (and why not?) you shouldn't have turned left at the junction just to spite them!

Good luck with the license.

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Re: I don't believe it....!

Post by baldlygo on Sun Feb 16, 2014 3:27 pm

Richard - My friend said jamais which meant I should have written must not should  Sad 

I did point out the breaks in the white but he remained adamant - I should NOT turn left - the breaks were only for vehicles coming from the left and turning left OFF the main road.

Not I or my 3 passengers in the car saw the Gendarme car before it overtook with lights flashing. It must have been well hidden and at 2.30pm hoping to catch someone not stopping at the Stop line or a drinking driver.
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Re: I don't believe it....!

Post by Tony H on Sun Feb 16, 2014 4:44 pm

I know the area and have driven up and down that hill but never from the exit you used. I also had a good look on the 'street view.

In my opinion, the two breaks in the solid white line are for drivers coming down the hill to turn left into the side road and for those in the side road to turn left onto the main road without crossing the solid line.... as you sort of did. There are no signs or other indications that you cannot make either turn. That is why the breaks are there. If you think about it, the solid line indicates the division between the two opposing traffic flows, but I agree it could be confusing if you do not know the area.

You probably actually got stopped for driving the wrong way in the outer of the two uphill lanes, but it was easier for the gendarme to write you up for crossing the solid line than some form of careless driving.

Just my two penneth.

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Re: I don't believe it....!

Post by Richard T on Sun Feb 16, 2014 9:14 pm

baldlygo wrote:Richard - My friend said jamais which meant I should have written must not should  Sad 

I did point out the breaks in the white but he remained adamant - I should NOT turn left - the breaks were only for vehicles coming from the left and turning left OFF the main road.

There's an article about French road laws here which starts off "The following guide to road rules may help you to adjust to driving in France. Don’t, however, expect other motorists to adhere to them (most French drivers invent their own ‘rules’)."

I suspect your friend is amongst them. Smile

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Re: I don't believe it....!

Post by very19 on Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:57 pm

(most French drivers invent their own ‘rules’).
 Laughing Not wrong. especially when they do not see any police around!

This case is a little bit ambiguous but I'm not sure you can't turn left because there is no signal before with the left arrow striked. I think you were sanctioned for driving 50 m on the wrong lane and of course crossing the white line to go on the right lane and also you were a good catch to fill gendarmes penalties quota of the day  Twisted Evil

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Re: I don't believe it....!

Post by Higgy on Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:38 pm

In NZ the traffic fines such as speeding go into the Police Budget and
as such mobile Speed Units are everywhere. They even hide in work trucks, builders vans and anything else that does not give the game away.

Drugs and Gang related crime takes a back seat.

Out of interest who gets the money from the Police Fines ?


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