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Paris Bans Even-Numbered Plates, But 14-Year-Old Drivers Are Just Fine

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Paris, the City of Light, might be one of the most beautiful places in the world, but now it’s also one of the most polluted. The government has been fighting to reduce air pollution with their most recent effort banning even-numbered license plates from the city for a day.

This all happened on March 23rd when the situation became so bad that the smog was a visible haze throughout the city. Only odd-numbered plates were allowed on the roads for the day in Paris and 22 surrounding areas in hopes of reducing the level of PM10 fine particles from diesel engines.

Cars were also ordered to travel no faster than 20 KPH (12 MPH) in the city and couldn’t be there at all unless they had at least three people. Around 750 police officers were deployed to make sure everyone followed the rules. Those found in violation received a $24 fine.

All public transportation and residential parking was made free for the day to help the poor schlubs unfortunate enough to have even-numbered plates or no friends. Despite the inconvenience, most people complied with the temporary restrictions. Police reported that traffic jams were reduced by 40% for the day.

They are also putting several bans in place to permanently remove the cars deemed the worst offenders. This summer could see cars registered before December 31, 1996, trucks before September 30, 1997, and commercial vehicles and buses before September 30, 2001 banned from roads entirely.

This again targets older, diesel vehicles which are the biggest cause of the smog-inducing pollution. That means 3-5 million cars could be booted off the roads in the next five years creating a whole new set of problems for the environment with rusted hunks of junk in need of disposal.

While Paris is taking issue with your old, polluting car, they are totally fine with letting 14-year-old kids take to the roads, as long as they drive nice, environmentally-friendly electric cars. Specifically, they can drive the Twizy quadricycle.

This 1,000-pound two seater has just a 13 horsepower electric motor with a range of 60 miles and a maximum speed of 50 MPH so it’s no speed demon. It’s also ridiculously tiny so it won’t hold much other than two people.

Legislation in France previously allowed 14-year-old kids a license for mopeds only, but new legislation will let them drive slightly modified Twizys. The kid-safe versions will have a max speed of 28 MPH and come in at under 770 pounds. Because apparently stinking polluting cars aren’t good but kids driving glorified scooters on the streets of Paris is just peachy.

You keep being you, France.

Nicole Wakelin

Nicole Wakelin

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