Motorcycling in France - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 24 Old Apr 29th, 2012, 6:45 pm Thread Starter
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Question Motorcycling in France

I am planning a one week trip from Oxford to Toulouse and back - using the Portsmouth / St Malo ferry. I understand the the French authorities are insisting on hi-vis jackets and policing speed limits much more strictly since I last travelled there in 2010. Can anyone advise on the time it should take to cover the 850kms between St. Malo and Toulouse, offer any other advice to riding in France &/or links to further information.
Many Thanks

Berny Auton
Oxford, England

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post #2 of 24 Old Apr 30th, 2012, 1:14 am
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Re: Motorcycling in France

I have done it in a day, two up, no probs, stopping on the way to see some sights.

Spent the night in Agen, past Toulouse, so you should have no problem at all.

Great motorway, most of which, if I remember correctly, is free of charge..
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post #3 of 24 Old Apr 30th, 2012, 3:28 am
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Re: Motorcycling in France

New French law now requires you to carry a breathalyser I believe.
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post #4 of 24 Old Apr 30th, 2012, 6:18 am
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Re: Motorcycling in France

There's been a lot of discussion about this on the BMW Club forum. The new regs come in on 1st July, I believe. As I understand it, you will now be expected to:
  1. have your headlight masked
  2. carry at least one breathalyser of the approved type (about a quid apiece from shops near the ports)
  3. Have 125cm^2 of reflective material on your person. This can be a belt or Sam Browne
You cannot have a GPS that has French speed-camera locations on it. I know that Garmin has modified its software to cover this and presume that TomTom will do the same. Speed cameras are no longer signposted or painted to stand out so don't speed is the simple, if trite, advice.

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post #5 of 24 Old Apr 30th, 2012, 1:07 pm
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Re: Motorcycling in France

I thought the breathalyser only applied to four wheeled vehicles.

Also, how can they LEGALLY enforce a FOREIGN vehicle owner to have a GPS that complies with the French law ?.

Arenīt we in the COMMON market ?.
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post #6 of 24 Old Apr 30th, 2012, 1:22 pm
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Re: Motorcycling in France

Quote:
Originally Posted by simoncharles
I have done it in a day, two up, no probs, stopping on the way to see some sights.

Spent the night in Agen, past Toulouse, so you should have no problem at all.

Great motorway, most of which, if I remember correctly, is free of charge..

I must correct myself. I did stop at Agen, but it is after Bordeaux, not Toulouse. I took the Rennes, Nantes, La Rochelle ( Atlantic Coast ) route passing by Lorient which is not on the main route.
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post #7 of 24 Old May 1st, 2012, 2:47 am
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Re: Motorcycling in France

THIS is Garmin's take on the French GPS law.

Keith


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post #8 of 24 Old May 1st, 2012, 6:02 am
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Re: Motorcycling in France

Thatīs interesting but is obviously written for car and heavy goods vehicles, not for bikes, although I am not suggesting that the same thing doesnīt apply to us.

Two things. If France succeed in making it work, it wonīt be long before countries like Spain, Portugal, Italy and probably Holland, Belgium and Denmark do the same. I have my doubts about Germany.

Secondly, I would like to see them enforce this law in court against a foreign vehicle owner who could be spending less than 24 hrs in the country.

In the end I suppose we will have to go back ( I have never stopped ) to using maps again, pinpointing the known radars on them before we leave for France.

I thought travelling was supposed to be fun !
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post #9 of 24 Old May 1st, 2012, 6:47 am
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Re: Motorcycling in France

Quote:
Originally Posted by simoncharles

Arenīt we in the COMMON market ?.
Yes we are and we're the commodity - screwed in many ways by each of the member states.
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post #10 of 24 Old May 1st, 2012, 7:24 am
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Re: Motorcycling in France

Berny,

To help answer your question:

My wife and I get to the South of France, or North of Spain, in two easy days. We tour and get back to the ferry inside a week, no problem. We have developed a routine of driving for an hour and a quarter then taking a break, the first for morning coffee, another drive then lunch, another then afternoon whatever, then a final drive and arrive at destination. Total driving is 5 hours and we are never cramped, stiff or sore. With the aid of modern technology we have our overnight hotel pre-booked and sometimes even a restaurant. GPS gets us to the door. Big change from our early forays years ago when we might find ourselves looking for a campsite in the pitch dark and it takes all the stress out of it. We find that the speed limits (130kph on the motorways) are good enough for very comfortable traveling.

Another angle - I regularly compete in a gliding competition in the middle of Spain. This involves towing a trailer all the way. We get moving from Roscoff at about 11.00am and we are usually in Bayonne - right at the Spanish border - and settled in for an evening meal at about 8.30pm. The speed throughout would be about 60 mph.

Speed is not the way to get there faster. In fact I have to laugh when crotch rockets piss past me because I know I'll be passing them in about 20 minutes up the road! The trick is to keep the wheels turning!

Hope that helps.
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post #11 of 24 Old May 1st, 2012, 3:25 pm
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Thumbs up Re: Motorcycling in France

Quote:
Originally Posted by highroamer
Berny,

To help answer your question:

My wife and I get to the South of France, or North of Spain, in two easy days. We tour and get back to the ferry inside a week, no problem. We have developed a routine of driving for an hour and a quarter then taking a break, the first for morning coffee, another drive then lunch, another then afternoon whatever, then a final drive and arrive at destination. Total driving is 5 hours and we are never cramped, stiff or sore. With the aid of modern technology we have our overnight hotel pre-booked and sometimes even a restaurant. GPS gets us to the door. Big change from our early forays years ago when we might find ourselves looking for a campsite in the pitch dark and it takes all the stress out of it. We find that the speed limits (130kph on the motorways) are good enough for very comfortable traveling.

Another angle - I regularly compete in a gliding competition in the middle of Spain. This involves towing a trailer all the way. We get moving from Roscoff at about 11.00am and we are usually in Bayonne - right at the Spanish border - and settled in for an evening meal at about 8.30pm. The speed throughout would be about 60 mph.

Speed is not the way to get there faster. In fact I have to laugh when crotch rockets piss past me because I know I'll be passing them in about 20 minutes up the road! The trick is to keep the wheels turning!

Hope that helps.
That makes Complete sense
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post #12 of 24 Old May 1st, 2012, 4:30 pm
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Re: Motorcycling in France

Same applies to trucks.

In my youth I used to drive HGV articulated trucks around Europe. Time upon time I would be passed by expensive sports cars and then, about three hours later, the same one would pass me again. This sometimes occured 3 or 4 times in a day.

I only used to stop to refuel, a quick sandwich and the on again. This, obviously, was before there were driving time limits imposed on foreign truckers.

My best day was when I crossed the Spanish French border just after dawn and arrived in Le Havre in the evening to catch the night ferry to Blighty.
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post #13 of 24 Old May 4th, 2012, 10:31 am
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Re: Motorcycling in France

My thinking is to simply not get caught using this outlawed feature. Seems like something that would be hard to prove- the lack of required reflective material would be a lot easier for the federalies to spot.

It's also kinda like speeding itself- it's only illegal when you get caught.

another example: look at people who continue to talk on cell phones/texting while driving in places mandating it illegal. Only the stupid ones do so and get caught.

That being said, I agree w/ the good advice given here re: pacing oneself while keeping it moving. Reminds me of the story about the hare and the tortoise. We all know who won that race.

I appreciate the idea behind wearing reflective clothing, but having someone dictate to me what I have to wear just rubs my American mindset the wrong way, but I know it's coming to the shores of the good ole USA as well. There's a growing faction here who want to tell everyone else how to live.

Anyhoo, be sure to take lots of pics of your trip to France and keep the rubber on the road.

Jeff
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post #14 of 24 Old Sep 13th, 2012, 10:25 am
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Re: Motorcycling in France

Well Bernay, did you go and how did you get on? We're just back from another very enjoyable trip.
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post #15 of 24 Old Sep 13th, 2012, 8:58 pm
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Re: Motorcycling in France

I am riding in France next week. The rental company says that the hi viz requirement has not been made law yet so you don't need to have to be wearing hi viz riding clothing currently. He said the law is expected to change in 2013.
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post #16 of 24 Old Sep 14th, 2012, 7:46 am
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Re: Motorcycling in France

That's correct. The law on the high viz bits on upper clothing came in last January but takes effect from the 1st Jan. 2013. However, I believe there is another law currently in force requiring 4 x reflective bits on helmets. Nobody bothered us about it but you might want to check it out.
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post #17 of 24 Old Jan 3rd, 2013, 12:10 am
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Re: Motorcycling in France

Quote:
Originally Posted by highroamer
... However, I believe there is another law currently in force requiring 4 x reflective bits on helmets. Nobody bothered us about it but you might want to check it out.
Here in New Jersey we had the reflective stickers required on helmets for ages. It really was only enforced during periodic inspection. Nowadays, the state has gone through some severe budget-cutting and eliminated motorcycle inspections altogether (imagine that!), so effectively the requirement is over.

Now, I was fascinated reading the notes about breath analyzers. You are required to have those on you? Cars and bikes? For what purpose - to be tested when stopped by police? Wow.

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post #18 of 24 Old Jan 3rd, 2013, 12:31 am
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Re: Motorcycling in France

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdwalker
Here in New Jersey we had the reflective stickers required on helmets for ages. It really was only enforced during periodic inspection. Nowadays, the state has gone through some severe budget-cutting and eliminated motorcycle inspections altogether (imagine that!), so effectively the requirement is over.

Now, I was fascinated reading the notes about breath analyzers. You are required to have those on you? Cars and bikes? For what purpose - to be tested when stopped by police? Wow.
Maybe to pre-test yourself?
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post #19 of 24 Old Jan 3rd, 2013, 3:19 am
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Re: Motorcycling in France

To test yourself if you suspect that you may be over the limit.
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post #20 of 24 Old Jan 3rd, 2013, 4:57 am
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Re: Motorcycling in France

Quote:
Originally Posted by highroamer
That's correct. The law on the high viz bits on upper clothing came in last January but takes effect from the 1st Jan. 2013. However, I believe there is another law currently in force requiring 4 x reflective bits on helmets. Nobody bothered us about it but you might want to check it out.

You might be interested to note that, due to pressure from the French motorcycling association, the requirement for reflective materiel on the upper clothing has been revoked.
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post #21 of 24 Old Jan 3rd, 2013, 9:34 pm
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Re: Motorcycling in France

What a good win for common sense.
One issue with reflective vests on the LT is the height of the rear top box.
HI-vis is ok for arms, but not really that visible for upper torso. Just an LT thing.

Any news yet about removing the 110 HP limit ?

Curious minds would like to know.

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post #22 of 24 Old Jan 4th, 2013, 5:17 am
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Re: Motorcycling in France

Actually, the reflective strip on the Streetguard jackets is shaped to be above the top box - I wonder was it deliberate!

I wasn't aware of a 110hp limit. On my last trip I came across quite a few K1600s and I very much doubt that they, and other big bikes, had been restricted. The French seem to have a healthy disdain for bureaucracy, probably a legacy of the revolution. While laws might be brought in, the public generally decide which ones they'll live with.
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post #23 of 24 Old Jan 4th, 2013, 8:01 pm
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Re: Motorcycling in France

" The French seem to have a healthy disdain for bureaucracy, probably a legacy of the revolution. "
How very true. " Viva la France " It's one of the many wonderful charms of France.

The HP limit has been an ongoing issue, and yes you can see many bikes that are well over as stock bikes.
Can become an issue with insurance, nice little "out" if pushed.
I did hear they were coming into line with the EU, eventually, but haven't heard anything for a while.
Earlier, some Japanese makes produced de-tuned editions to comply. Not sure if they bother now.
Saw some compliance work done at Tumbridge Wells to facilitate change of registration from UK to F. Couple of years ago now, but required before the French would finish the change.
Cheers.

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post #24 of 24 Old Jan 6th, 2013, 7:13 pm
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Re: Motorcycling in France

I rented a K16 in France in October. No mention of a horsepower limit. The BMW dealer in Nice had lots of iron on the floor with greater than 110 hp. I am sure he wouldn't be allowed to sell them if they actually enforced the law. As far as the breathalizer goes, it was required for motorcycles, in fact the rental guy said that you needed to carry two of them. If the cops stopped you and made you blow, they could actually ticket you because you weren't at that point carrying a usable one. The bike shop started putting two on their rentals because they said the cops were actually stopping bikes, making them take a breathalizer and then giving them a ticket because they didn't have a usable one on the bike at that particular moment.
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