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Old 14 Jan 2009
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First trip abroad, a weekend in normandy.

I'm going to Normandy with a small group of friends in the summer,

i have never riden (or driven for that matter) on the 'wrong' side of the road.

I presume i will have to put a GB sticker on my bike/panniers,

really stupid question now though, do i need stickers to alter the dirrection my headlight dips?

also i know that in a car you need to take a fluro jacket, triangle, spare bulbs etc, do you need to do any of these on a bike?

any hints or tips for me on my first foreign trip?

many thanks
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Old 14 Jan 2009
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Hi, yes you do need to carry 1st aid, bulbs and Hi Viz on a bike. Never been asked but I'd carry them anyway. Triangle, don't know, doubt it-too big. You need to watch out for friendly people. Be ready to react the same way! A leg stuck out by a French biker means, Hi. 1st time? Do think all the time about side of the road. Bikes are not LHD or RHD. The danger is pulling out from a petrol station or side opening. Really concentrate, and have fun. ps GB sticker? I'd say forget it. Never done it myself. Loads of foreign cars here with no stickers anyway. Linzi.
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Old 14 Jan 2009
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1st time

If your number plate's one of the newer euro ones with the small blue gb in the corner you dont need the gb sticker. I put a reminder on my dash saying ride on right as it's very easy as linzi say's to forget, pulling out of petrol stations etc. France is more bike friendly you'll have a blast.
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Old 14 Jan 2009
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Don't fret about the riding on the right - just take it nice and slow until you get used to it its a lot easier than you think!
Watch out for roundabouts - traffic comes from the other way...look left before moving
Take extra care at junctions and turnings...there is a very, very strange rule in France which says that sometimes traffic entering from a side road has priority, not at every turning though so take it slow until you are sure the way ahead is clear.
Bikers tend to wave with their arm so give a little wave back with your left arm
Police in France are pretty hot on speeding now and tend to hide behind trees with cameras - they dress in dark blue uniforms so be aware
cars will normally pull over a bit for you to pass - very unike the UK!

Best advice? - enjoy the good biking roads and less traffic!!
Oh, remember to take your v5, mot and insurance just in case
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Old 14 Jan 2009
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Another tip - try and only use petrol stations on the right side of the road in the direction of travel - makes it much easier when pulling out and ensuring you get onto the correct side of the road after filling up
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Old 14 Jan 2009
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thanks for the advise guys!

no doubt i'll be back with more questions in the meantime!!!
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Old 14 Jan 2009
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Considering the amount of time I spend in France I really ought to know the answer to what I'm supposed to carry but I've no idea about the regs for a bike. Our Land Rover has high vis jackets, bulbs, GB sticker, first aid kit, triangle, tow rope, snow chains, little stickers on the lights and a tiny little bit of left over space for us but the bike has ... none of that.

Actually it does have a GB sticker - I found a small one in an autojumble. It's not going to be a problem to add the other stuff to the pile of junk I usually take (prob not the snow chains) but it's a good job I'm not riding a Ducati 1098. There can't be much space to stash things on something like that.

Do the regs say exactly what constitutes a first aid kit? Will a couple of band aids keep "les flics" happy or does it have to be full on with blood plasma, anti viral drugs and a holographic doctor. Are you really required to carry bulbs to replace something that takes two hours in a workshop to get to? Every bulb? The LR kit is a generic thing that seems to have 7 or 8 bulbs in it but I've never had to use it so I hope they're the right ones. Am I supposed to wear the jacket only when I break down or all the time? If it's the former can I wear it even when I'm not broken down?

Might be time for me to do a bit of Google research unless anyone here knows the regs well enough to point me in the right direction. It's strange that I've been going to France by bike for over 30yrs but don't know this stuff. It's a mark of how often I've been pulled over and checked or had an accident but that's not really an excuse. Time to get sorted I think. Good and timely post.
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Old 14 Jan 2009
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To remind you to ride on the right, put a piece of bright yellow tape on your right hand mirror stem and always keep that mirror to the kerb side.

Still need to concentrate though, its easy in a LHD car as it feels right to be on the 'wrong' side due to the LHD position, but on a bike you need to think twice everytime.

Keep Right, Kerb Right !!

'Never worry about things that YOU cant change'
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Old 14 Jan 2009
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I was in Normandy in the summer on my bike, we rode down from Denmark.

Fill up during the day at manned petrol stations. We did not find an unmanned station that would take visa. Do not make the mistake of passing by a petrol station late in the afternoon and expect to find another one down the road that is open. You just might not. Fill up when you have the chance.

I found this site which may help.

Driving in France, speed limits in France, driving laws in France, French motoring rules and regulations.

Do not be afraid of using the toll roads. They are not expensive and they are excellent roads and services.

We did not have a warning triangle but we wear vis vests anyway.

The traffic did not bother us at all, it was not a problem.

Visit Mont St Michel if you can. It is a great ride to get there and a fantastic place to visit. Park on the approach road to the Mont and get that memorable "Team" photo.

You need your driving licence, Registration docs and insurance with you.

If you need more advice just ask.

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Old 14 Jan 2009
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I agree with everything but note that a first aid kit is not compulsory in France - just a good idea!

Do look out for "priorité à droite", where you have to give way to traffic from the right. This applies wherever there is no sign to indicate otherwise. It is a major cause of road accidents.

I've put together a set of useful website links, common road signs and things to look out for on our own website. It explains in detail about priorité à droite and shows the signs to look out for.

Biking and Driving in France

Hope some of it may be useful.
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Old 15 Jan 2009
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Hi I find Lee’s tip about the tape on the mirror is a top idea I’ve had a bit on my mirror for years I even keep it on there when I get back in case I have a moment when I’m back home
It reminds me that that’s the side of the road I drive on in France its just one les thing to think about
And as for the GB sticker I say get one I got pulled for speeding last year (115 km on the open road 90 km limit) they went though all my documents and checked right though the bike and let me off with a telling off if you do get pulled and you don’t have all the right docs and stuff they can throw the book at you and you have plenty of time top sort it out

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Old 15 Jan 2009
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Another vote for carrying your docs! I took mine with me to France but left them behind on a short jaunt out somewhere.

I was getting frustrated at the time by directions in the heat and did a U-turn and caned the bike up the road. As I crested the hill I saw the cops and they pulled me over for a ticking off. I had not broken the speed limit but the loud can gave the impression I was . This was all ok until they started asking for my ID as I believe it is compulsory to carry ID in France (anyone confirm?). Had to go back to get the docs and present them at the station.

However, that didn't spoil a great trip which was also my first time abroad on the bike. I met some great people, including one guy in a petrol station who paid for my fuel on his card and I gave him cash (they don't take our cards in unmanned stations as mentioned above). Who'd do that at home?

Belfast to Kathmandu on a Diesel motorbike 2010/11 www.suckindiesel.com
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Old 15 Jan 2009
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Originally Posted by Linzi View Post
Hi, yes you do need to carry 1st aid, bulbs and Hi Viz on a bike.
The French law of 2008 on hi-vis vests and warning triangles, specifically excludes bikes.
You should carry bulbs. 1st aid is up to you... it would be so small as to be useless I think.

As with most of Europe, you MUST have your driving licence or the police are quite at within their rights to tell you to walk! or if you have a passenger with a licence, they can drive.

GB sticker should be applied. If nothing else, it will tell the police you are more bother than its worth... unless you are being a complete wazok!

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Old 15 Jan 2009
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Yeah, I'm with Redboots on this one, carry ALL your documents with you ALL the time. I've been pulled over a couple of times and looking perplexed, pretending I can't speak French and pulling out a big wodge of documents all muddled up with bills, sweetie wrappers and old bits of paper usually gets me a Gallic shrug and an "oh your way", even on a French registered bike.

First Aid kits aren't compulsory in France (contrary to what they tell you at the port) and so you won't get asked to show one, it's all to do witht he law of having to stop and give aid if you see an accident (remember the paps being prosecuted in the tunnel for not helping Di). Mine contains, a triangular bandage circa 1943, an elastoplast, a cough sweet and an emergency Marlboro Light. So I'm fine if I find someone with a broken arm, and a small graze, who needs a fag for the shock, but then develops a coughing fit.
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Old 15 Jan 2009
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i'm with 'tothers on this one

hi viz, triangle & bulbs are NOT obligatory on bikes in france. it is not abligatory to carry bulbs. It IS obligatory, however to have your headlight on AT ALL TIMES. If you're bulb goes & you've not got a spare, you can be ligitimatly pulled & immobilised & fined.

only word of warning for the french roads, the french brake & indicat LATE (if they indicate at all) & have no idea how to use roundabouts so don't get caught out by some twerp going all the way round in the outside lane...

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