What does a white diamond road sign mean in France?


Have you seen a white diamond road sign while driving in France and wondered what it means? Here experienced driver of French roads and motoring journalist and expert Pete Barden answers that and why you should never ignore it if you want to avoid a potentially large fine while travelling by car in France.

What does a white diamond road sign mean in France?You might see this new sign popping up all over France soon - and you need to know what the white diamond means to avoid a big fine.  (Credit: Pete Barden)

What does the white diamond sign look like in France?

The sign is typically a white diamond shape on a blue background, but this could also be a white diamond over a black background on digital signs found on larger roads and where the sign’s meaning only applies at certain times. See the mock-up above for an idea of what the new sign looks like on French roads.

What does the new white diamond sign on French roads mean?

Drivers who have been to France many times are also being stumped by the meaning of the white diamond sign – and that’s because it is a relatively new addition to many roads.

The sign is to signify that some lanes are reserved for car sharing and other types of vehicles. The sign was brought in after an official decree in August 2020.

The sign is usually found on larger roads – and it might only be in operation during certain hours of the day, such as rush hour periods.

As ever, the move is designed to cut emissions by having more people in a single car, thereby reducing the number of cars on the road.

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Where are the white diamond signs in France?

You will start to see an increasing amount of the white diamond signs across France as local authorities start to introduce them. They’re already found around Lyon, Grenoble and Strasbourg.

Additionally, they will soon start appearing in western France, in Rennes and Nantes from September.

What cars can drive in lanes marked with a white diamond sign?

The  following can drive in lanes that are covered by the white diamond sign…

  • Vehicles with at least two occupants (a couple, a parent and child, two co-workers, two people car sharing)
  • Vehicles with very low emissions with a Crit’Air sticker, indicating that the vehicle is 100% electric or runs 100% on hydrogen - the number of occupants does not matter
  • Taxis, even when not carrying passengers
  • Motorbikes, but a pillion passenger must be on the motorcycle.

Can hybrid vehicles use the lane with just one passenger?

No – these vehicles must have more than one person travelling to use the white diamond lane.

How are drivers caught using car share lanes defined by the white diamond signs?

Police in France can use the results from a new thermal imaging camera that identify vehicles unlawfully using car sharing lanes that are being rolled across France.

These cameras can look for heat from a human body and automatically flag up vehicles that appear to have just one person in the vehicle. This information, that is backed by AI, can then be used by French police to issue fines to drivers ignoring the white diamond signs.

What is the fine for improper use of the white diamond lanes?

If you are found driving in a lane with the white diamond sign in action and you do not meet the relevant criteria, you can expect a €135 fine, reduced to €90 if paid within a certain timespan. 

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Author: Pete Barden:

Twitter: @pete_barden

Pete Barden is a qualified journalist who has written and produced for publications including The Sun (thesun.co.uk), New Statesman Media Group, Whatcar? (Whatcar.com) Stuff Magazine (Stuff.tv), Fastcar Magazine (Fastcar.co.uk), Maxim Magazine and UK broadcast stations within the Heart network (Formerly GCAP). Pete specialises in motoring and travel content, along with news and production roles. You can find out more about Pete Barden on LinkedIn.

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