Last week there was a Gendarmerie unmarked car parked on the side of the road, with a small radar attached at the back of it, to measure I was above the speed limit. The flash shone just as I was realizing what the suspicious protuberance at the back of the car might me. I had no idea how fast I was driving, and there was no other car in front or behind to give me some perspective on speed. I felt I was driving at a reasonable speed :)
A week later I received by post the “avis de contravention au code de la route”. 97 km/h (60 mph). That is 7 km/h (4 mph) above the limit. The fine is EUr 68 but only EUR 45 if I pay within 2 weeks. If I don’t pay within 45 days, then it’s EUR 180.
So I’ve been thinking about speed, speed limit, common good sense and that kind of things.
My denial of responsibility didn’t last long, but my first reaction was to find somebody to blame for the flash. And that was the person I had been stuck behind for too long, right before I was able to pass them and speed up a bit. This guy was driving well below the speed limit. I’ve always been pretty annoyed with people driving below the speed limit, now they *upset* me.
I thought also that I was disappointed (ashamed, even) to enter the public record for such an unremarkable performance! It’s possible that my speedometer indicated I was driving as fast as 110 km/h. But still. I was reminded of the French comics “Joe Barr Team”. One of the bikers brings his ticket to the police, visibly unhappy, telling them their friggin’ radar is borken. He was driving way faster in that curve :) No, really, it’s disappointing. Especially considering I could have driven up to 20 km/h above the limit for the same fine!