French Highway Code for cyclists.

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French Highway Code for cyclists.

Postby thirdcrank » 16 Mar 2014, 9:27am

I've just found this summary by a French cycling club of the French Highway Code as it applies to cyclists. It seems to cover various questions which have come up on here from time to time. It's in French, of course. I tried the google translation which seems good enough to get the message but it doesn't seem possible to link to the translated version.

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Re: French Highway Code for cyclists.

Postby Sweep » 18 Mar 2014, 5:32am

Thanks for this thirdcrank.

Will read through it as an accompaniment to the French roads classification thread.

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Re: French Highway Code for cyclists.

Postby jamesgilbert » 18 Mar 2014, 8:53am

Interesting website, but judging from the slightly 1990s style, I'm not sure when it was last updated...

It's probably worth putting up a link to the actual French "Code de la route": ... e=20140318

The main bit concerning cyclists is here: ... e=20140318

I think the rule that people are most likely to be unaware of is that a high-visibility vest must be worn outside built-up areas at night or in poor visibility.

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Re: French Highway Code for cyclists.

Postby thirdcrank » 18 Mar 2014, 9:50am

One of the things I didn't like about my own link was the stance taken by the commentator on certain subjects (which I won't mention to avoid triggering a heated debate :lol: ) but it does deal only with the stuff relevant to cyclists.

Part of the problem for anybody reading the full official version is is that it's not the equivalent of the Highway Code, but rather the Road Traffic Acts, Highways Acts, Road Traffic Regulation Act and a chunk of the Police Act thrown in. For anybody who doesn't know, French law is set out in several Codes of which this is only one.

We had a thread about some aspect of French traffic law - probably the way both the criminal and civil aspects of something like a serious crash can be dealt with by the same court and lawyers, almost in one go - and I ended up ploughing through the full version. I got as far as the bits explaining the level of authority and judicial qualification for a police officer to have the power to deal with fixed penalty appeals and ran out of steam. ie it's a bit heavy for anybody only wanting the answer to something basic.

Googling for guides to the subject in English only ever seems to come up with stuff relevant to UK drivers. What started me off this time was the current thread about French road classification and in particular a post from somebody who had been stopped when riding where it was prohibited. In that context and AFAIK, cycle paths are obligatory in France. That's the level of relevance and simplicity I was trying to link to.

I agree 100% about the need for legal advice to be up-to-the-minute, since anything less is useless.

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Re: French Highway Code for cyclists.

Postby jamesgilbert » 18 Mar 2014, 10:26am

Yes, it is hard to find any reasonably simple information on this, even in French.

Even the 'easy to understand' summary of the highway code on the Paris Vélib website has a few inaccuracies (and a couple of bits of information which I suspect are completely wrong) :wink:

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Re: French Highway Code for cyclists.

Postby BeeKeeper » 18 Mar 2014, 11:45am

Google's best translation, less the hyperlinks at the start, format a bit haywire...


Here is a summary of the main sections of the regulations of the Code of the road for cyclists on roads.
This is our own safety on the roads in question. We cyclists, we are "vulnerable users", and we have specific rights and obligations.
Read and reread these lines and continue our happy hiking with two wheels on the roads of Provence and elsewhere.

1. The rule for Cyclos
Cyclists are subject to the same traffic rules as other drivers and as such are subject to the same fines and imprisonment under the rules of the road.
For certain offenses, cyclists are subject to suspension of driver's license or a cancellation. provisions on penalty points do not apply to them.

2. To ride

Bands, bike paths, pedestrian areas, walkways, corridors
Bands and biking trails
The obligation to borrow tapes and bike paths is established by the appointing police authority, after consultation with the prefect.
The cyclist must, in principle, take the bike path to the right of the roadway. But stated in Article 9 of the Code of the road, only when "practicable". However, maintenance and safety for cyclists infrastructure are often inadequate: holes, unsealed tiles, unwanted vegetation ... often forcing cyclists descend on the floor.
Whether it is mandatory or not, so you need to pay attention to the type of road sign:

Track or tape required for cycles, mopeds prohibited ..
Trail or bike lane recommended and not mandatory
Pedestrian areas
You can drive on the pedestrian areas , except different arrangements made by the appointing police authority, provided you keep walking pace and not cause discomfort to pedestrians. Cyclists have the right to move in 30 areas and residential areas. But, like any driver, they have to respect the rules of the road and exercise caution in the presence of vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and more particularly the elderly and children. By cons, pedestrian streets are accessible to cyclists if a sign at the entrance so authorizes.

unless otherwise
Sidewalks and walkways against-affected pedestrians
Outside urban areas along paved roads or state of repair roads, cycle traffic is allowed on sidewalks and walkways against-affected pedestrians.
By cons, in urban areas, it is forbidden for a person over 8 years , riding on sidewalks, under penalty of sanctions.
In town, cyclists can use the lanes reserved for public transportation.
In case of infringement
Article R.431-9, al.1 and 3 CR: 22 € within 3 days or € 35.

Priorities on cycle paths
When you find bicycle on a bike path and at an intersection, you want to continue straight while the car to the left wants it, turn right, that car or bike has priority?
The far right of the road user always has priority. In this situation, so the cyclist has priority over the car, which does not prevent them attention.

When a bike path crosses a street, which is a priority?
In case there would be no traffic lights, it is the priority rule that applies to the right. The bike path is a line of traffic on its own.

If a pedestrian crosses a bike path, which should stop?
The weakest user is still considered a priority. Faced with a pedestrian, the cyclist must stop.

In the case of a two-way cycle track, can we drive on the left?
You can double in the left lane, but otherwise must remain on your right. In the case of a bike path in one direction, it is forbidden to go back in the opposite direction. You incur a fine.

Is it compulsory to use cycle paths?
Some bike paths are required for safety reasons
- Bicycle lanes indicated by a blue sign and ROUND are required
- Bike paths reported by the same panel as CARREE are recommended.
Is there a speed limit on bike paths?
No, although cyclists are asked to observe a reasonable cruising speed. Also note that in pedestrian areas, cyclists are tolerated if they are driven at walking pace.

Driving cycle troublesome for pedestrians
Drivers of cycles can operate on pedestrian areas, except different arrangements made by the appointing police authority, provided you keep walking pace and not to cause inconvenience to pedestrians.
Excluding agglomeration drivers cycles can be driven on road verges equipped with a coating.
In case of infringement
Article R.431-9 al.4 CR: 22 € within 3 days or € 35.

Streets and roads shared with other users
If you do not have a workable bike trail, you can ride on the road, except motorways, expressways and other roads specifically closed to bicycles by a panel (circled in red and white with the drawing of a bicycle). You can also borrow shoulders and parking provided to hold your right and give way to other users. And outside the cities, you can use the sidewalks and other protruding shoulders for pedestrians. 's roads prohibited cycles are common in city suburbs: the highways and v quick geese , but also flyovers , some tunnels , the sections road technicians consider too dangerous to let it circulate cyclists,driveways prohibited on certain days ... Impassable roads are even more common: major roads without bicycle facilities, large roundabouts , interchanges , tangential connections lanes ...

Forbidden lane
for cyclists

In case of infringement
Article R.431-9, al.1 and 3 CR: 22 € within 3 days or € 35.

3. Equipment

Be see and hear
Stay clear in the dark, do you hear and brake your ardor.

Traffic at night or in poor visibility
Traffic at night or day when visibility is insufficient, without wearing out of town, a high visibility vest complies with regulations by driver or passenger of a cycle.
Night or day when circumstances require, any cycle must be equipped with a lighting system, a yellow or white light in front and a red light to the rear (Article R.313-18 19 and 20). According to French regulations, cyclists must use fixed lights to make them visible on the roads. But it is not forbidden to add flashing lights! You also have the choice of where you attach: on the bike, on your body, on your clothes or backpack. The important thing is that they are visible on the roads.

Warning! Other safety requirements continue to apply: your bicycle must be equipped with reflectors at the front, rear, on the pedals and spokes or tire sidewalls. D e day and night ( Article R.313-20) while the cycle must be equipped with:

- A red reflector visible from the rear
- a reflector of visible white to the front
- a reflector of visible orange color side (on each wheel)
- pedals should also include reflectors orange.
Unless they run at night, child bikes, racing bikes and mountain bikes should not be equipped with lights, reflectors and side signals.
Any cycle must be equipped with a horn, ie a stamp or a bell whose sound is to be heard at least 50 meters (Article R.313-33).
In case of infringement
At night or in poor visibility without life: Article R.431-1 of the CR: case 2a € 22 in 3 days € 35 beyond.
Article R.313-1 al.4 CR: € 11 for each offense.
cycle not equipped with rear position conformity: Article R.313-5, § XI CR: 11 €.

Effective braking device
Any cycle must be equipped with two or more effective braking.
In case of infringement
Driving a 2 devices not equipped with effective braking :: Article R.315-3 and R415-1 CR cycle: 1st class ticket 11 €

Optional equipment but recommended
Although not compulsory, the following equipment is recommended:
• a mirror
• helmet
• pump
• toolkit
• saddlebags
• bright clothing (shirts UCL are perfect to this point of view)
• reflective material (harness - ankle)

Wearing helmet
Helmet cycling is not compulsory, but everyone to do this well:
Wearing a helmet can save your life or prevent serious brain damage. It is widely used in Scandinavian countries and was made mandatory in the state of Victoria in Australia, Georgia and New Jersey, the United States and Spain.
For details, refer to the section The Headphone port

4. Signals and priorities

Obligations for the motorist
To make overtaking, the vehicle must be deported at least one meter, side, in urban areas and 1.5 meters out of town.
It is forbidden to any occupant of a car to stop, to open a door when this maneuver is a danger: danger of collision with a cyclist.
Bonds Cyclist
On the exceeding of parked cars:
• The ski-file right is prohibited.
• The ski-file left is considered a passing therefore permitted if "possibility of taking its place in the normal flow of traffic without disturbing it"
In case of infringement
Article R 414-16 of CR at least a 2nd class ticket for 35 € .

Traffic lights and Priorities
Every cyclist should mark a complete stop at a red light, or flashing.
Before a stop, every cyclist should mark a pause at the edge of the roadway addressed (Article R 415-6).
Excluding agglomeration, any cyclist approaching a main road and not finding himself on a road this category is required to give way to vehicles on the main road.
In case of infringement
Article R 412-30 R & Article 415-6 - Contravention of 4th class minimum € 90

Report changes of direction
In turn, I have to reach out - but only when it is possible. Prior to 1991, there was an absolute obligation for cyclists to reach out when they wanted to change direction. But this rule sometimes created dangerous situations. It is indeed better hold the handlebars with both hands when the road is degraded weather conditions are bad, luggage (loaded improperly) are transported ... So many reasons that justified the transformation of the absolute obligation to reach out in case of change of direction by the obligation to do so only when it is possible.

Tip: If you reach out to indicate that you want to change direction could put you in danger, in any case try to make eye contact with the driver of the car or other road users to make sure it is aware that you will make a maneuver.

Borrow banned sense?
A bike I can borrow banned sense ... but not absolutely. For over ten years, the SUL (one-way limited to) allow cyclists to borrow banned sense and therefore, rolling in the opposite direction. .'s Experience shows that they can avoid tiresome detours and busy roads in more dangerous since July 1, 2004, one-way are necessarily open to misinterpretation cyclists the following conditions:

• The maximum speed no more than 50 km / h
• The clear width (excluding parking) is at least 3 meters
• Safety reasons do not object (for example, there is a blind curve).
When responding to these conditions, turn restrictions are indicated by a white rectangular panel under the do not enter sign. Only those are accessible to cyclists

5. Group riding

Effective group
It is not possible to drive more than 15 in a group without risk to all road users and first for yourself ....
If your group has at least 15 cyclists , it boasts of some facilities, but has additional obligations:
• You do not have to borrow the bike paths
• You can ride two abreast as long stay together and not occupy more than the width of a lane or half the width of the roadway
• From 50 cyclists, you must be accompanied by two "road captains" and two escort vehicles topped by a sign indicating your group.

Roll front
It is possible to ride two abreast when the road is wide enough. should be put in single file at the close of day and in all cases where traffic conditions require, especially when wanting to overtake vehicle announces its approach.

Allowed to ride one next to the other is probably one of the rules that suffer most approximations. So let's clear the point.
On a bike path, you can roll front to the extent permitted by the width of the track, provided they do not interfere with other users. If, in the absence of track cycling, driving on the road, you can always ride two abreast, but never more, and you must re-file:
• In town: if two roll prevents cross another user
• Outside urban areas: if two roll prevents cross another user or if a vehicle is approaching from behind.
In other words, the aforementioned limits, so you can, in urban areas, ride two abreast on the road, even if you and prevent motorists pass you.
But of course, nothing prevents you to be courteous and you submit a file in time to allow the passage to vehicles behind you.
In case of infringement
Conductor cycle 2 front wheels running over two on the road: Article R.431-7 of the CR: € 22 in 3 days or € 35.

Group riding cycles over 2 wheels or trailer
Drivers of mopeds, cycles more than two wheels, hitched to a trailer or cycles sidecar should never ride in front on the floor.
In case of infringement
Article R.431-6 CR: € 22 in 3 days or € 35.

6. Individual behavior

Dropped handlebar and other stunts
The city code prohibits any person riding a bicycle to adopt risky behavior. Examples: hands from the handlebars, foot pedal away, stretching platoon, wear girls on the bar (real!) ,. hold a bike by hand while rolling on another, walking the dog from his bike, "stroller" a shill ... etc..

In case of infringement
Articles 33 and Article R 412-34 of the CR contravention of the second class of 35 €.

Call pedaling
The Highway Code states that drivers must keep constantly in a state position and run easily and instantly all the maneuvers required of him. Flowing bike requires your full attention. To protect against cyclists themselves, the legislature prohibited them as motorized users, as they call to cycle ... The use of a handheld phone by the driver of a vehicle outstanding is prohibited (Decree of March 2003, Article R 412-6): it stops and you park correctly please.

In case of infringement
Contrary to the second class of 35 €.

Driving while intoxicated
Even in the absence of any signs of obvious intoxication, the act of driving a cycle under the influence of alcohol, characterized by a concentration of alcohol in the blood less than 0.5 grams is punishable the fine for violations of the fourth class.
In case of infringement
Contravention 4th Class 135 € and perhaps the opportunity to be suspend his license for a period of three years (without withdrawal point) in the case of endangering the lives of others.

Be towed by a vehicle
It is illegal for drivers of cycles and mopeds to be towed by a vehicle. Failure by any moped or cycle, to contravene the provisions of this Article shall be punished by the fine provided for contraventions of the second class .

In case of infringement
Article R.431-8 CR: € 22 in 3 days or € 35.

Carry a passenger
A passenger in a vehicle with 2 wheels with a passenger seat fitted correctly.
On two-wheeled vehicles except so-called "tandem" cycles, the passenger seat must be fitted with either a tether strap, or at least one handle and two footrest .
On all vehicles with two wheels for children aged less than five years, the use of a seat designed for this purpose and equipped with a restraint system is mandatory.
Drivers must ensure that children's feet can not be driven between stationary parts and moving parts of the vehicle.
Failure by any driver to violate the provisions of this Article shall be punished by a fine for offenses of the second class .
In case of infringement
Article R.431-11, al.1 of CR: 22 € within 3 days or € 35.

And finally, the "technical stops" they too are regulated
The famous "pee break", alone or in groups, should not be everywhere. 's general police regulations on public health, art. 91, states that "it is forbidden for anyone to urinate on public roads and adjacent properties built against" . Avoid stopping in a village, around houses and prefer a forest where you can hide a little, because at worst, you might even be accused of sexual exhibitionism!

In case of infringement
Simple call to order fine of the second class, the amount may vary depending on location.

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Re: French Highway Code for cyclists.

Postby thirdcrank » 18 Mar 2014, 3:32pm

jamesgilbert wrote: ... Even the 'easy to understand' summary of the highway code on the Paris Vélib website has a few inaccuracies (and a couple of bits of information which I suspect are completely wrong) :wink:

I presume this is the Vélib summary you mention.

Which bits are wrong? I ask because I'm thinking of doing some sort of summary of the main ppoints of everything I can find. I don't want to be responsible for a "plume de ma tante" episode.

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Re: French Highway Code for cyclists.

Postby jamesgilbert » 18 Mar 2014, 4:37pm

Actually I was on the Velib blog, not the proper website, here: ... questions/

Which is also now nearly 3 years old... but they mention for example, that you must indicate a turn with your arm - which I don't think is correct.

However, there's a useful reminder about the bus lanes in Paris that specifically aren't open to cyclists. There's no mention of the new "red light jumping" signs, unsurprisingly as I think they hadn't been introduced in 2011.

The list you linked to seems fine, although doesn't seem to include anything about cyclists being allowed to ride slowly in pedestrian areas (not on pavements), unless specifically forbidden. Then again, this is something that French policeman also seem unaware of :wink:

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Re: French Highway Code for cyclists.

Postby thirdcrank » 18 Mar 2014, 5:02pm

jamesgilbert wrote:... but they mention for example, that you must indicate a turn with your arm - which I don't think is correct. ...

I've read somewhere in the last couple of days while reading all this stuff that that used to be the case but that the regulation had changed in recognition of there being times when it was best to have both hands on the bars.