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Travellers' Advisories, Safety and Security on the Road Recent News, political or military events, which may affect trip plans or routes. Personal and vehicle security, tips and questions.
Photo by Bettina Hoebenreich, At the foot of the Bear Glaciers, eternal ice, British Columbia, Canada

Adventure is what you make it

Photo by Bettina Hoebenreich, at the foot of the Bear Glaciers, British Columbia, Canada.



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  #1  
Old 2 Sep 2016
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France advice - What is required to ride in France

Hello
Having rode in Germany / Belgium and Holland several times, I have never rode in France but have a short trip to the Ardennes area in a few weeks time which is going to see us dipping in and out of France regularly.
I have read several articles and websites offering advice and what is required (some of which if you believed would put you off going altogether) but the question is, what is actually required.
From what I can gather, you need a alcotest kit and a yellow fluorescent bib - both of which is no issue as we would be taking them anyway.
But whats the latest with "No speed camera detection on sat nav" and all the other bits and pieces.
France is popular for bikers so hoping that many of you have been recently so hoping for a nice easy reply from you good folks out there to assist and clear this one up.
Cheers
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  #2  
Old 2 Sep 2016
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Hi

I went to France this Spring. I wasn't aware of the requirement for the alcootest kit, but did bring with me a fluo safety vest, which by law, shall be on the bike all the time. Cops can do spot checks and ask for it.

Get the cheapest you find and vacuumbag it ;-)



Otherwise, France is a great place for riding. Drivers are disciplined, and most people love riders. Keep away from paying highways, they are expensive, and a bore anyway. Stick to small roads. You will discover a different side of this country.
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  #3  
Old 2 Sep 2016
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Hi,

I've lived here for 10 years, and deal with these questions on a regular basis.

1. Speed camera detection on st nav's have been illegal in france for nearly 5 years. If you have them on your sat nav , turn them off.

2. A yellow gilet is compulsory to carry on your bike. You don't have to wear it, only use it if you stop on the side of the road. Advisable to carry one for your pillion.

3. You must carry all documents. valid driving licence, insurance cert, MOT and registration document.

4. It is advisable to carry spare bulbs. Although not compulsory, it is an offence not having a replacement if something blows.

5. Breathalisers are supposed to be carried, but there is no fine for not having them.

6. Controversially all helmets must carry reflective stickers. One on each side and front and back. They are compulsory for French residents, and becasue the law is written into the code de la route ( Highway code) it does apply to everyone riding on French roads. Helmets must meet the required EU safety standards.

7. Gloves must be worn at all times while riding.

8.'' In ear '' ear buds for listening to music etc are banned, so no riding along with your MP3 plugged in- it's a heavy on the spot fine.

9. If you do fall foul of the law, on the spot fines are payable for speeding and other minor related traffic offences. If you seriously break the law, ( alcohol or severe excess speeding) they will take your licence and bike away.

Have fun!
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  #4  
Old 3 Sep 2016
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Quote:
9. If you do fall foul of the law, on the spot fines are payable for speeding and other minor related traffic offences. If you seriously break the law, ( alcohol or severe excess speeding) they will take your licence and bike away.
By this, I understood they can also insist on payment of the fines on the side of the road, and if you don't have the money they are happy to wait while you walk to the nearest ATM.

Is this correct?

If so, it is quite different to what happens in most other countries where police aren't supposed to demand payment.
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  #5  
Old 3 Sep 2016
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Originally Posted by Tony LEE View Post
If so, it is quite different to what happens in most other countries where police aren't supposed to demand payment.
Same in some states in the US. Choices are few. If you don't agree with the fine, then stay in prison until the judge is available. Could be a day or two, or even more. Or plead guilty right away, then follow the cop to a mailbox, put the money in the enveloppe and mail it to City Hall. Happened to me once.
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  #6  
Old 3 Sep 2016
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Originally Posted by Pongo View Post
Hi,

I've lived here for 10 years, and deal with these questions on a regular basis.

1. Speed camera detection on st nav's have been illegal in france for nearly 5 years. If you have them on your sat nav , turn them off.

2. A yellow gilet is compulsory to carry on your bike. You don't have to wear it, only use it if you stop on the side of the road. Advisable to carry one for your pillion.

3. You must carry all documents. valid driving licence, insurance cert, MOT and registration document.

4. It is advisable to carry spare bulbs. Although not compulsory, it is an offence not having a replacement if something blows.


6. Controversially all helmets must carry reflective stickers. One on each side and front and back. They are compulsory for French residents, and becasue the law is written into the code de la route ( Highway code) it does apply to everyone riding on French roads. Helmets must meet the required EU safety standards.

7. Gloves must be worn at all times while riding.

8.'' In ear '' ear buds for listening to music etc are banned, so no riding along with your MP3 plugged in- it's a heavy on the spot fine.

9. If you do fall foul of the law, on the spot fines are payable for speeding and other minor related traffic offences. If you seriously break the law, ( alcohol or severe excess speeding) they will take your licence and bike away.

Have fun!
5. Breathalisers are supposed to be carried, but there is no fine for not having them.
NOT ANYMORE ... they did away with them because they have a limited shelf date, the whole idea was ridiculous anyway. Which is why you can't find them anymore in supermarkets etc!!!
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  #7  
Old 3 Sep 2016
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Originally Posted by Gogsyboy View Post
But whats the latest with "No speed camera detection on sat nav"
So long as they are called "safety zones" there is not a problem.
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Old 3 Sep 2016
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Originally Posted by Pongo View Post
...all helmets must carry reflective stickers. One on each side and front and back. They are compulsory for French residents, and becasue the law is written into the code de la route ( Highway code) it does apply to everyone riding on French roads.
My experience in France was that it is very easy to get these small rectangular safety stickers. Just about all large moto dealers will have a big roll of them under the counter.

I stopped in at a Honda dealer in France and inquired about these helmet stickers - the counter person pulled out a big roll and tore off a strip of 4 and gave them to me. He would not accept payment for them, insisting that I was a guest in France (I was riding my Canadian-plated moto).

I believe that the regulation requires one to be affixed to the back of the helmet, and one to each side.

Michael

PS: Stick to the 'departmental' roads (the 'D' roads) when riding in France - they are wonderful, much more enjoyable than the 'national' ('N') roads or the motorways.
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  #9  
Old 4 Sep 2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PanEuropean View Post
My experience in France was that it is very easy to get these small rectangular safety stickers. Just about all large moto dealers will have a big roll of them under the counter.
I stopped in at a Honda dealer in France and inquired about these helmet stickers - the counter person pulled out a big roll and tore off a strip of 4 and gave them to me. He would not accept payment for them, insisting that I was a guest in France (I was riding my Canadian-plated moto).
I believe that the regulation requires one to be affixed to the back of the helmet, and one to each side.

Michael
https://ukfrancebikers.com/2013/03/1...n-all-helmets/
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  #10  
Old 4 Sep 2016
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I would second most of what has been said, Imho travelling several times a year to France I would say don't drink and drive, don't overtake on a solid white line and dont take the pixx speed wise, as if it's a long straight Road that looks like u could max out on it then u can bet your bottom dollar the police will be there. Those three offences are the ones that will Def get u a tug and fine if stopped.
My only interaction with the French police is when they wave at you as they pass or stick a leg out when overtaking and that's in many years and many thousands of miles.
You know what's going to happen on my next trip
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  #11  
Old 5 Sep 2016
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There is a lot of controversy about the sitcker law. When world wide homologation rules came in, there was an option in the rules which allowed countries to decide if they wanted helmet stickers or not. France was the only country that signed up to it. A lot of people think it's daft and some get very upset about ruining the line of their lovely painted bone domes. Visitors from outside France where this rule doesn't apply think it doesn't affect them. Well, it does-- and that's becasue it's in the Code de la route, which affects everyone.

The actual law states that only homologated helmets are allowed to be worn whilst riding in France, and for France a homologated helmet must have reflective stickers. Having said that, the legal section of the FFMC told me that as yet no foreign visitor has been fined for not having them.

There is actually some logic to stickers, and for those who live here or are regular visitors it's easy to understand. Australia is not the only country that has miles of unfenced roads, where large hairy things jump out in front of you at dusk ( and I don't mean truck drivers). Deer and wild boar are the usual culprits, and believe me a wild boar can do serious damage. If you're riding our lovely empty ''routes departmentales'' ( D roads) and you become a biker down in poor visibilty, you're gonna be very glad of those stickers when the local speed merchant shines his headlights on you. it's also a very good reason to have your yellow gilet in your tank bag or accessible pocket, and not tucked away under your seat.

Rural France can be spectacularly wild, and travelling at dusk is to be avoided if at all possible. If you see a deer crossing in your headlights ( red shiny eye reflection) slow down quickly because they travel in families and they can jump out anywhere and surprise you. I've killed 2 deer and hit 1 wild boar in 10 years, all of which jumped in front of my truck.

Agree about the breathalisers. My local supermarket is still selling them full price 3 years out of date.
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  #12  
Old 5 Sep 2016
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I wonder about the MOT. In France MOT is not compulsory for motorcycles. Is it really necessary for a foreigner to bring this when driving in France? I have lived here for some years now, my bike is still "immatriculè" in Sweden where I come from and I have got no recent Swedish MOT...
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Old 5 Sep 2016
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If you still have Swedish or non-French plates, then your vehicle (bike or 4 wheeled variety) must conform to the regulations of that country.

Many UK cars are in France without a valid tax disc & probably without a MOT either. I've known quite a few people who've found themselves in hot water over this.

Either it should be up to spec in it's registered country or re-registered in France. From memory I think it can only be on a foreign plate for a year (how they check I don't know!) the same applies to foreign driving licences
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  #14  
Old 6 Sep 2016
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Originally Posted by CREER View Post
If you still have Swedish or non-French plates, then your vehicle (bike or 4 wheeled variety) must conform to the regulations of that country.

Many UK cars are in France without a valid tax disc & probably without a MOT either. I've known quite a few people who've found themselves in hot water over this.

Either it should be up to spec in it's registered country or re-registered in France. From memory I think it can only be on a foreign plate for a year (how they check I don't know!) the same applies to foreign driving licences
Precisely, the regulation on vehicles in circulation clearly states that all vehicles must conform to the roadwothiness regulations of the country of registation. So any vehicle which requires a road safety test ( MOT or equiv), must have a valid certificate.

If you are now resident in France you have one month from the date of your residency in which to re register a vehicle. http://www.service-public.fr/particu...sdroits/F10519 This is a bit stretchable, because sometimes it takes a few weeks to get a valid European Cert of Conformity. Most vehicles post 2004 are registrable in France, becasue they will have type approval numbers on their registration document. Anything pre 2004 is a nightmare because vehicles have to be brought up to min Euro 3 specification, and this can be expensive or impossible depending on the vehicle.
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  #15  
Old 7 Sep 2016
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Pongo you're quite 'aux courent ' of all these regulations. Did you have any difficulties here?
I once imported one new bike and two new cars and didn't have any problemes to immatriculer them. Of course I passed the DRIRE and had to pay the TVA.
This was in 2001.

Edwin
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