SUVs May be Banned in Paris

By late 2011 or early 2012 the city of Paris will begin testing restrictions on vehicles that emit a certain amount of CO2, meaning large, polluting vehicles such as SUVs. An environmental official with the mayor’s office said, “I’m sorry, but having a sport utility vehicle in a city makes no sense. Sell it and buy a vehicle that’s compatible with city life.” (Source: Detroit Free Press) Or, even better, sell it and ride Le Metro, or ride a bike.

Due to the current high levels of congestion and air pollution, similar restrictions will be tested at the same time in other French cities such as Lyon, Grenoble, and Aix-en-Provence. The cities where the large car ban will be tested will be called Priority Zones for Action against Air Pollution.

SUVs and other large vehicles will probably still be allowed to drive freely in the urban areas around the city of Paris, but not allowed inside. The population of the city is a little over two million, but the population of the Paris metro area is over ten million. The Paris Metro (subway) carries over four million passengers a day, so you can imagine potentially how many cars could be on the roads at the same time.

Bertrand DelanoŽ, the mayor of Paris, has been a longtime green campaigner and pledged to reduce traffic congestion by 40 percent by 2020. One of the ideas he has supported is a bike rental program which now provides 20,000 bikes in the city for residents and tourists to move around without having to use cars. With the program, called Vťlib, a bike can be rented for a week for about nine dollars. The city also has about 230 miles of bike lanes.

They may be getting their ideas from Copenhagen, where there are car-free areas for pedestrians, and bicyclists. Also some areas have speed limits for cars of 19-25 mph, and some are even 9 mph. London has already considered banning cars from the central area, and a congestion charge is in effect for driving in certain parts of the city. The charge is about $15 per vehicle. If Paris could implement such a ban, it certainly might be a milestone in the struggle against auto manufacturers who built far too may over-sized vehicles which take up too much space, consume too much gas, and can be deadly when they impact smaller vehicles.

Image Credit: Taxiarchos228

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Nadia A.
Past Member 5 years ago


Fran F.

GOOD! They should be banned everywhere! In addition to their gas-guzzling, another obnoxious thing about SUVs is that most of them are excessively tall, blocking the view of those of us in shorter vehicles.

Aoife O Mahony
Aoife O Mahony6 years ago

thanks =)

mike shalter
mike shalter6 years ago

I agree with much of what Robert O has said but not the part about "drivers in other countries seeing driving as other than a birthright." Having lived and driven in France these past 30 years, I can assure you that the average French man or woman shoves the car into gear and then drives the length and breadth of Europe as though it were a private estate. They ignore worsening road conditions with a shrug of their shoulders and a flick of a Gauloise. They have a faith in the average car's brakes which puts Joan of Arc's faith in God to
shame. They view every feu rouge, every carrefour, every rond-point as an affront to their individual liberty. One of the most exhilarating things to do in Paris is to try to use a pedestrian crsossing. Those who are slow, through age of disability, should resign themselves to living out their days on one side of the street. They are not just bad drivers, they are insanely dangerous drivers. Traffic rules are considered by the French as interesting suggestions which might be considered if one hadn't more important things to think about. The French are the most faddish people on earth. What matters is being up-to-date. They love the latest fashion, the latest films, the latest gadgets, etc. Not for nothing is passé a French concept. Which brings me to the recent love affair between the French and SUV's. In my little city alone there's a new one sold every 6 h. Why? No need for 4x4; France has the world's best roads. Answer: it's styl

Robert O.
Robert O7 years ago

I wish they could be banned everywhere. Not only are they environmentally unfriendly gas guzzlers, but they can be dangerous if involved in an accident with a smaller car. Plus SUV's have a higher center of gravity so they can easily flip over if T-boned by another car or tip over if they take a very sharp turn. If you think about it, in many countries where the cars are smaller and all about the same size they probably have a much lower rate of vehicular fatalities than say...oh I don't know...the USA. I also tend to think drivers in other countries really see driving as a priviledge as opposed to a birthright and take it more seriously and not allow themselves to be distracted (or as distracted) by screaming kids, cell phones, blackberry's, food, or searching through untidy glove compartments. Think about it.

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W7 years ago

Alan very rightly says: 'A childless SUV driver is many times greener than a parent on a bicycle.'
Ban children! Prevent overpopulation!

Bon L.
Bon L7 years ago

Thanks for the info.

Klaus P.
Klaus Peters7 years ago

This is not new, lived in Singapore in the 70ties.They actually set up gantries to stop cars or book them which had less than 2 people in the car to encourage pooling. In those days it was manual, but now with computer sophistication it is a more effective system.

Angelica P.
Angelica P7 years ago

great news

Steven Hemstreet
Steven Hemstreet7 years ago

Yes - now if the US could do it - especially in the Washington DC area it would be fantastic!