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French bikers reject congestion charge proposals

June 26, 2010

While a congestion charge was introduced in London a few years ago, the French authorities have been watching this space very closely to see whether a similar scheme could be implemented in France. The authorities will vote on 28th and 29th June 2010 for or against the introduction of a congestion charge in all cities with more than 300,000 inhabitants, which includes Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse and Nice.

The Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC – French Federation of Angry Bikers) has urged all motorcyclists in France to write to their MPs and local councillors to request full scrapping of the proposals, by using template letters which can be downloaded from the FFMC’s website.

As for London, the idea is simple: reduce congestion and pollution in city centres by discouraging the use of private motorised vehicles. While it is not clear whether bikes will be taxed by the scheme, the FFMC wants to make absolutely sure that any intention to charge motorcyclists to ride through city centres is abandoned with immediate effect.

Like the British No To Bike Parking Tax campaign has always said, bikes are the solution to congestion and pollution problems, therefore their use should be encouraged, not discouraged by the imposition of yet another stealth tax. Four wheelers should be encouraged to get rid of their cars and switch to two wheels as a more economical, reliable and greener mode of transport. The public transport in Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse and Nice, whether buses or underground trains, is already operating at full capacity to the extent that it is experiencing great difficulties to cope with demand. If bikes are required to pay congestion charge in these cities, more people will be forced to abandon their motorcycles and use the public transport, thus adding more pressure on to it. Motorists will not be encouraged to switch to two wheels and therefore will also be using the public transport as an alternative.

We are amused by these proposals which just come up in a context where the United Kingdom has been struggling to keep congestion charges going. The Mayor of London is in the process of scrapping the Western area of the congestion charge (from which bikes are exempt), as it is not financially viable, and the proposals to introduce a similar scheme in Manchester were abandoned a couple of years ago because of the massive public opposition that there was against it.

If you can read French, by all means download the FFMC template letters, sign and return them to the authorities. Stand up and be counted!

UK France, the website where you will find motorcycle news  in France and Britain all written in English, will keep you informed of the progress. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and continue to fight to protect the freedom of all bikers.


Further reading (in French):-

Péage urbain : La FFMC fait appel à vos plumes

FFMC press release


Please join and support the campaign to stop Westminster Council from stealth taxing motorcyclists to park before their scheme spreads all over the UK and the rest of Europe. For further details, visit

Rejoignez le groupe de manifestants contre le stationnement payant des motocyclistes a Westminster avant que cela ne se propage dans le reste du Royaume-Uni et l’Union Europeenne. Pour plus d’informations, consultez


If you have a story you would like to see published on UK France, please contact us here.

Si vous avez une experience a partager et que vous souhaiteriez voir publiee sur UK France, n’hesitez pas a nous contacter en cliquant ici.

  1. Just a precision, not only are we against the very idea of a congestion charge for bikes (knowing that the current project does NOT exclude them from it – taking the PTW into account and acknowledging their usefulness in an urban context would be a first in France), but are also strongly opposed to it when it comes to cars. We consider this a very bad idea, because if you had the chance to drive in Paris for instance these last few years, you know that no one sane would intentionally take one’s car into the city. Most of those who do simply have no choice: traveling with children or elderly people, transporting heavy stuff, having to come back at night when there’s not more public transportation, coming from a poorly equipped area, or simply having to be on time for work (which is NOT a given with the way the public transportation are overcrowded, sometimes old, often on strike)…

    Those who’d pay and could care less about it will be the richest, who already have many advantages. The other people will either add an extra cost to an already tense economical situation or loose even more time in a saturated train or badly running bus.

    The FFMC will fight this law not only for bikers, but for everybody, as it contradicts the principles of equality and freedom that France is supposed to uphold. It wouldn’t be the first time the French bikers move against a law that concern more than them alone, and we sometimes won fights the cars and trucks would have also suffered from. Yet they still don’t organize themselves and won’t protest… Well, we do!

  2. Phil Randome permalink

    Merci Frédéric de votre visite en angleterre le weekend dernière.
    I am in support of your stance on this issue. I am usually a P2W rider because I hate wasting time in traffic congestion & hate being late for appointments but conversely I frequently have to transport my aged & infirm mother around in my car. I deliberately reverted to bike use from car use to enable me to get around cheaply & effectively for my work. I would never consider using the métro in London simply because carrying a laptop computer, printer & briefcase on overcrowded tube trains is impossible. If the pollution charge was extended to motorcycles/scooters I would not work in London nor would I go there for shopping/entertainment. Would the UK/French government prefer our cities to be ghost towns ? No I don’t think so.
    This is just another poorly thought out piece of legislation by “politicards” who have nothing better to do.

  3. 1frog permalink

    I don’t think that the french poeple will allow this to happen. This would certainly be a vote looser big time in France.

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