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Legal Requirements



From time to time random spot checks are carried out by the Gendarmerie and/or the Duanes (customs). You must be able to produce the originals of your insurance certificate, registration document and drivers licence (an International Driving Permit if applicable) at all times.


Breathalyser Kits and Hi-Viz Clothing


It is a legal requirement to carry 2 certified breathalyser kits (ethylotest), however there is no penalty for failure to do so.  The permitted level of alcohol in your blood in France is about half of that in UK, so be very careful of what you drink especially at lunch time.


Despite wide spread information to the contrary, there is no requirement to wear Hi-Viz or reflective bands on clothing, however, if you normally wear High-Viz clothing, that's fine.


Your helmet should carry 4 reflective stickers, one back and front and one on each side.


New law in France - Januray 2016


For those of you not aware, a new law came into force on the 1st January for motorcyclists.

It is now a legal require to carry fluorescent vests for use in emergencies such as break down, accidents etc., but don't need to be worn when riding (one for each person on the bike).

We'll keep a couple of spare ones around in case anyone forgets!


Your Motorcycle


It is illegal to have any device, mobile phone or GPS, that indicates the presence of a speed camera. If this function is on your device it must be disabled.


A GB sticker should be shown as close as practical to your rear number plate (if it's already included in your number plate that will be fine).


Check that your insurance cover covers you for riding in France and doesn't expire whilst you are away.


Dipped headlights should remain on at all times.


Your motorcycle must be in a legal and roadworthy condition, especially the tyres.


Spare bulbs and warning triangles are compulsory for cars but not for bikes


General Advice


A European Health Insurance card (EHIC) whilst not compulsory, but highly recommended, should be carried. It doesn't cover 100% of medical expenses or repatriation but will give you the same level of medical cover whilst in France as the French Nationals have. If taking out additional travel insurance, be sure to check it covers for riding a motorcycle.


Should you need to stop for refreshments, fuel etc, try to find somewhere on the right handside of the road so that when you exit you are already on the correct side of the road.


Priority from the right rule - this rule goes back many years but is still in place in many areas to a greater or lesser degree. Basically at junctions unless there is marking to the contrary, traffic to your right usually has priority. This often applies on country roads as well as in town so be very wary and if in doubt be prepared to give way. If you're on a main road and see a yellow diamond shaped sign, that indicates that you are entering a zone where you have priority over vehicles approaching from your right. The same sign with a black bar through it indicates that you no longer have priority.


STOP signs mean stop. You must come to a complete halt placing one foot on the ground irrespective of how far your visibilty extends.


Speed limits - the urban speed limit starts at the village or town sign and there may not be a 50kms/h sign anywhere to be seen. The sign will be a white panel with red border. Likewise the limit ends with the town/village name panel having a diagonal red line across it. The limit is 50kms/h unless otherwise stated. On auto-routes, should the roads be wet the speed limit is reduced from 130kms/h to 110kms/h.


Be very wary of other road users giving you a flash of their headlights, it doesn't mean 'after you', it means 'I'm coming through'. But of course, it could just be they are warning you of police presence.


White paint - the whitepaint used on road markings in France is particularily slippery when wet.


We suggest using the Drive-France website for a very good source of information - this can be found here:





This list is not exhaustive but merely intended as a guide to help you enjoy you holiday in France.

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