Where in the world can you walk into a garage, buy a car and drive it away without having had one driving lesson or passing some sort of test? China? – No! Afghanistan? No! France? – Yes! The vehicles are called Voitures Sans Permis (VSP’s). They are small vehicles with an engine size of less than 50cc, which have a maximum speed limit of 45km/h. They are not allowed on auto routes but can be driven around town. I use a quiet back road for cycling into town. One day I heard a dreadful noise behind me. It gradually got louder and louder and then an old guy in an old VSP slowly passed me. Its engine sounded like a ride-on lawn mower. Newer models are quieter and blend in with normal road traffic. A friend who moved to the depths of the Normandy countryside bought a VSP for her trips to town. People who have lost their licence through dangerous driving or driving while under the influence of alcohol can buy one and continue to drive!

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