All the legal requirements
This guide has been written by David Griffiths of the Drive-France website. There is a link at the bottom of the article if you are interested in buying any of the items that you might need to comply with the French Motorcycling regulations.
Let’s start with some of the legal stuff
If you find yourself standing at the roadside or on the hard shoulder because you’ve broken down or been involved in an accident then there are a couple of things you need to be aware of.
Be seen, be safe! If you are wearing leathers which come with the fluorescent patches on that’s fine. If you have plain black leathers then you need to put on a “Hi Viz”. A slip on vest is fine; it doesn’t need to be a full jacket.
On-the-spot- fine for non-compliance.
The small fine: If you are not wearing fluorescent leathers or you are not carrying a Hi Viz vest with you whilst riding then you can get fined 11 Euros if stopped by the police.
The big fine: If you are on the hard shoulder because of a breakdown etc. then if you don’t have fluorescent leathers on or you are not wearing a Hi Viz vest then the fine is an eye watering 135 Euros.
So it’s 11 Euro if you don’t have a vest and 135 Euro if on the hard shoulder not wearing it. This applies to your pillion passenger as well.
Motorcycling in France Requirements
So apart from a Hi Viz what else do you need?
Must have’s apart from your licence, insurance and breakdown cover details are Motorcycle Helmet stickers. It is a requirement that you have 4 reflective stickers on your helmet. Front, back and both sides.
There are strict rules as to the size etc. of these stickers and ones we sell on Drive-France are fully compliant if you need some.
Gloves! Now I don’t suspect that anyone would be daft enough to go on a road trip all the way to the south of France without wearing proper gloves but it is a legal requirement to wear them.
Something to watch out for though is the “I’m only popping to the shop” scenario. What often happens is you ride all the way to France wearing all your gear but while you are there things slide.
You decide to nip on your bike from the camp site or Gite you are staying at to the local shop or beach etc and don’t bother to put your gloves on. That’s when you’ll get a ticket.
UK Stickers. It can be very difficult to find a spot on a motorcycle to fix a UK sticker on but you should if at all possible. Again on the Drive-France site we sell the ones which are supposed to go on a car number plate. These are only small and as they are only laminated paper ones they can even be trimmed with a pair of scissors if you need to trim them to size.
This is a tricky one for motorcycles. Let me explain first about cars as it will make it easier to understand.
UK cars have a dipped headlight beam which points mainly forward and to the left. The issue is when in France the “left” bit of the beam is dazzling the oncoming cars. (Because they drive on the right).
While in Europe all UK cars/vans etc have to have headlamp converters fitted (even during the hours of daylight) so the beam points mainly forward and to the right so as not to dazzle other road users. (90 Euro fine for non-compliance)
Now it’s not so simple for motorcycles and scooters because some have a beam which is just forward pointing with no left side bias. In that case you will not need them. However some UK bikes have a beam similar to cars which has a left side bias. For those bikes they should be fitted.
When it comes to motorcycle headlamp beam converters there is no such product on the market but we sell lots of our car ones to bikers and as far as I’m aware no one has ever had any trouble with them. The fitting instructions are obviously for cars but it’s pretty easy to work it out.
For Mopeds of max 80cc – it is 16 yrs old and for anything above that you have to be 18 years old. You cannot ride with just a provisional licence in France.
Apart from the Hi Viz, GB sticker, Gloves, Helmet Stickers and Headlamp Converters there are some other items you might consider if you have the room and inclination to carry them.
Spare bulbs, these are still the law for cars but it’s getting unsustainable as most modern cars have sealed units so the average driver would never be able to replace a bulb at the roadside. There is no requirement for bikers to carry a spare bulb set.
Breathalysers are completely obsolete now but amazingly Drive-France still sells literally hundreds of them. The British are such a law abiding lot that we even abide by laws that have been scrapped!
First Aid kits are a total waste of time in my opinion, if you are in a bad accident a couple of plasters, baby wipes and a safety pin really isn’t going to help you.
Ring the Universal European Emergency Number which is 112 and they can connect you to Police, Fire, Ambulance etc. The same goes for Fire Extinguishers, if your bike catches fire get the hell away from it. Don’t stand there with an aerosol can fire extinguisher the size of a deodorant trying to put it out, you are likely to get blown up!
Motorcycle Breakdown Cover
There’s no fine for not having Breakdown cover while motorcycling in France so you don’t have to have it, but for a relatively small cost it would be a big risk to take. You can read in deatil about the plan offered here. Motorcycle cover and get a no obligation quote here.
Here you can get cover for a single motorcycle trip or an annual multi trip policy via Voyager Insurance.
David Griffiths is the owner of Drive-France.com and this website EuropeanBreakdownCover4u.co.uk. You can purchase Motorcycle Helmet stickers etc via the Drive-France website here. Just scroll down the page and all the products are there. Motorcycling in France Product Range.