French laws for cyclists

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
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The utility cyclist
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Re: French laws for cyclists

Postby The utility cyclist » 11 May 2017, 7:08pm

Just come back from france, I didn't wear hi-vis out of town or at night (though wasn't out for that long after dark through the villages), I also didn't bother with a hi-vis vest for the car or breathalyser kits (more nonsense!) Frankly forcing people on bikes to wear it is an indication of a backward society not intereested in dealing with the real issues, pandering to the idiotic thought process of the powers that be is just stupid and has further negative effects on responsibility.

people that ride bikes and/or get involved in action to make changes for safer roads should absolutely be against ANY laws that force people to wear hi-vis or reflectives or indeed accepted norms that those not wearing it are just asking for it/to blame for their demise or injury.
The ONLY thing that will reduce incidents where those that think hi-vis/reflectives will do some good is to modify the behaviour/thought process of those presenting the harm in the first instance. Anything else is simply victim blaming.

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Re: French laws for cyclists

Postby Bmblbzzz » 11 May 2017, 7:50pm

mjr wrote:
Bmblbzzz wrote:
meic wrote:The Dutch and Germans accept tyre sidewall reflectors in place of wheel reflectors, I wonder if the French do?

Don't Dutch laws actually require sidewall reflectors, as opposed to spoke reflectors, on new bikes now? Just to be clear, I'm talking about new Dutch-based bikes in the Netherlands, not visitors from abroad. ... ehicles_en claims both Dutch and Germans accept sidewall reflectors. Do you have a link to a recent change?

From your link:
Two wheel-mounted orange spoke reflectors on each wheel, arranged at an angle of 180o and visible from the side, or continuous white circular retro-reflector strips on the tyres or on the spokes of the front and rear wheels.

I remember reading a couple of years ago that all new bikes were to be sold with a continuous circle, usually on the sidewall but can be on the spokes. This might be a thing that happens rather than an actual legal requirement, I'm not 100% sure. Either way it was a point of sale thing.

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Re: French laws for cyclists

Postby Bmblbzzz » 11 May 2017, 7:51pm

Lance Dopestrong wrote:A beret and a string of onions around the neck are also compulsory.

Drew Buck!

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Re: French laws for cyclists

Postby andrew_s » 12 May 2017, 1:27am

Bmblbzzz wrote:Drew Buck!

Wrong photo.
That's the 2011 bike. The onion seller bit was in 2007 on a Retrodirect (2 gears, low gear used by pedaling backwards)

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Re: French laws for cyclists

Postby francovendee » 12 May 2017, 8:02am

There may be laws but judging by the huge number of cyclist out in groups, who do not have lights, then it's another law that isn't enforced.
It would be stupid in the extreme to cycle at night without lights. So in towns and villages most cyclists use them. It's the youngsters who don't and they are a real danger to themselves.
All bikes sold here come with reflectors and some with lights, these normally get removed immediately.

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Re: French laws for cyclists

Postby wjhall » 12 May 2017, 12:29pm

This (1) , which appears to be on an FFCT branch website, but does not carry their branding or a date within the pdf, says lights are a compulsory fitment.

This commentary (2) contradicts this, suggesting that 'position lights' are only needed at night and if visibility is insufficient during the day. It gives references to the Code de la Route (3), which appear to support this, so presumably the other statements can be checked using the reference provided.

Must ask the kiddies for practical experience, they have been cycling in France a number of times. I do recall being told decades by a friend that they had been stopped by the French police for cycling without lights in bad weather.

For practical purposes needing lights in reduced daytime visiblity could, possibly, be regarded as making them a nearly compulsory fitment.

(1) ... 0route.pdf

(2) ... en-france/

(3) ... 0006841623

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Re: French laws for cyclists

Postby bikepacker » 12 May 2017, 1:28pm

The only time I have ever had a French police officer check my bike was in Avignon. He walked up to me smiling looked at the bike rang my bell and gave me the thumbs up. He ignored the fact I had no reflectors and was not wearing hi-viz or a helmet.
There is your way. There is my way. But there is no "the way".

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Re: French laws for cyclists

Postby AdamS » 12 May 2017, 1:51pm

meic wrote:Also note that as a "visitor" we may be subject to laws like wearing a hi-viz or helmet but our cycles themselves only have to meet the international standards.

For the OP's benefit, this means you as a tourist need to have lights but not wheel reflectors.

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Re: French laws for cyclists

Postby Audax67 » 12 May 2017, 3:00pm

Lance Dopestrong wrote:A beret and a string of onions around the neck are also compulsory.

And policemen must be greeted with the phrase "va te faire foutre".
Have we got time for another cuppa?

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Re: French laws for cyclists

Postby NUKe » 12 May 2017, 4:24pm

A few years, back to cut a long story short I ended up in small French town on a motorcycle without a helmet, we been on a protest rally and on our way back to the campsite, when we decided to peel off and get provisions . I had just finished loading the bike with groceries when the local gendarme turned up. and started to quiz me in French, When he realised my French was limited, we switched to English
" You race round the country side" he asked
"No we ride at the Speed limit" I replied
"No you race he" asked again
suddenly I grasped his meaning
"Yes we ride round your beautiful countryside"
After asking a couple of questions about the bike, the questions were friendly like how big is the engine and top speed He then indicated that I and my friend should ride off. WE looked at each other and got on the bikes, As I was about to leave he asked where is your hat?"
I said the only thing I could think of" Its too warm."
he just replied "au revoir" and waved us off

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Re: French laws for cyclists

Postby pq » 19 May 2017, 11:54pm

I live in France and have never heard of any of it. I'd rely on Lyn at Freewheelfrance to get the law right - she's meticulous. However everyone I ride with here (including me) takes absolutely no notice of any of it.
One link to your website is enough. G