Bauné, a small town in western France became popular for marking a busy intersection with overlapping white lines in order to confuse motorists and make them slow down.
At a glance, it looks like a piece of abstract art but, the town, near Angers, in the heart of the region Pays de la Loire in Western France, despite it is home to only about 1,700 people, has to deal every day with heavy traffic because of its location at the crossroads between two departmental roads, D74 and D82.
And so some of the roughly 2,300 vehicles that pass through Bauné every day can have speeds of over 100 km/h (60mph), even though the intersection is clearly marked with signs limiting the speed at 30 km/h.
As a result, in order to get drivers to slow down, local authorities came up with the idea of using confusing road markings in the form of overlapping continuous lines and, interestingly enough, the strategy worked like a charm!
Inventive or stupid?
The bizarre road markings in the busy intersection of Bauné left a lot of people scratching their heads, with many pointed out that a continuous white line is impassable, so having them overlap and cover the entire square doesn’t really make a lot of sense, and others simply wondered why the local authorities didn’t use more traditional means of decreasing vehicle speed, like roundabout or traffic lights.
And the controversial markings are not to everyone’s taste – with one local also saying the lines gave her seasickness, while another suggested they could be dangerous.
Either way Jean-Charles Prono, the mayor of Loire-Authion, a group of seven villages that includes Baune, said that “people drive fast and it’s complicated to get people to slow down and to have roads signs that work”, and he added that the goal was “to make it difficult to read the landscape”.
He adds that speed bumps were overlooked as an alternative, as there were concerns they could create a noise issue for locals.
According to Grégoire Jauneault, deputy mayor of Loire-Authion and the person in charge of local development, the deliberately confusing road markings started working on the day they were completed, with data showing a significant decrease in motorists’ speeds.
However, a part of the local community that the result is only temporary and that as soon as motorists figure out the game, they’ll go right back to their speeding ways.