Legal Requirements in France:
* You must bring the originals of your driver’s licence, insurance certificate and registration document. It is a legal requirement in France to carry these papers with your vehicle.
* From 1 January 2016 it became a legal requirement for motorcyclists and pillions to carry a high-visibility vest to be worn in the event of a breakdown or accident (this already applied to car drivers). Penalty for not carrying one is 11 euros, penalty for not wearing one in said circumstances is 135 euros.
* From 1 July 2015 it became ILLEGAL to use any “hands-free” kit in a car or on a motorcycle with any sort of device that emits a sound – whether through an earpiece, earphones (including earplugs with integral earphones) or headphones – directly into the ear. The aim is to make illegal anything that may interfere with the driver’s/rider’s hearing. The only exceptions are hearing aids, training schools, and helmets with an integral system. The detail of the law was released on 18 June 2015 – see the article here – securite routiere – the pictures are easy to follow! The sanction for non-compliance is 135 euro fine and 3 points in France (in Spain this is a 200 euro fine).
* From 1 July 2012 it became a legal requirement to carry a breathalyser kit (ethylotest) which is certified “NF”. However, from 1 March 2013, a new decree (no. 2013-180) restated the obligation to carry a kit but removed any penalty for the failure to do so !!
* From 4 January 2012 it became illegal to have any device – including a GPS or mobile phone – that can indicate the presence of a fixed or mobile speed camera. This function, if present, must be disabled. The penalty is a fine of up to 1500 euros, 6 points on your licence and confiscation of the item.
* There is no need to adjust your headlamp but you must ride with a dipped headlight at all times. You must affix a GB/European sticker to your number plate. Ensure your bike is in a roadworthy condition – minimum tyre tread is 1.6mm in France.
* Reflective Stickers on Helmets…not required. This is NOT a new law, the latest “Order” dates from 4 April 1995 and “applies to all helmets sold in France from 15 May 1995”. Originally this requirement dates back to the Geneva Convention 1958, Regulation 22 which the UK chose not to be bound by – which is why it does not apply there. The 1995 “Order” goes on to say that “However, helmets which otherwise conform to technical specifications of other EU Member States from the point of view of technical performance, protection of users and a date stamp can be accepted” – so even for French residents (like us) who bought their helmets in an other EU state, it would seem we do not need them either. Although some motoring organisations websites and forums in the UK are stating that the stickers are necessary this seems to have arisen from a report on the FFMC (Federation Francaise des Motards en Colere) website (the clue is in the name – this is a FRENCH organisation!). We have contacted the RAC and the AA (May 2015) who although say their information is from an “official source” they will not disclose this source and have undertaken to check this further (November 2015 – still checking!).
* Emission Certificates: (As at March 2017) There are 3 cities that have introduced the need for an emission certificate – Paris, Grenoble and Lyon. A certificate is only required if you enter the city centre, normally if you stick to the ring road then one is not needed.
The cost is 3.70 euros plus postage and this lasts for life – it is not per day – and the same certificate covers everywhere in France. Go to https://www.certificat-air.
* Information for road-users in France can be found on the Government website www.securite-routiere.gouv.fr
* Please check if prior notice to your insurer is required as otherwise your cover may be invalid.
* You should also take out breakdown cover for your motorbike which should include repatriation, a replacement vehicle and have a claims line open at weekends!
* We recommend that you obtain either an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) or travel insurance – which will be required in the unfortunate event that you need medical treatment. Failure to have either will leave you liable for any medical expenses. Please note that the EHIC card does not cover repatriation or 100% of medical expenses. If you already have your own travel insurance please check that this covers you on a motorcycle over 125cc – as many policies exclude this. If you do require insurance then we have arranged preferential terms with Holiday Safe Travel Insurance which is specifically designed for motorcyclists and can be found under ‘insurance’ on our website.
* Bike Normandy will charge for any transportation of you and/or your vehicle which is undertaken by us – please refer to the “What We Charge” page for details.
* A mobile phone enabled for foreign use could be of benefit as would a credit card for use in some petrol stations.
* Although the weather is generally warmer in Normandy than in the UK it has been known to rain & waterproofs might come in handy.
* Make sure you bring some Euro’s.
* Don’t forget your passport!