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France completely paralysed by almost 100,000 bikers !

June 18, 2011

UPDATE – 21 June 2011:

Further to the bikers’ demonstrations that took place last Saturday throughout France and paralysed the entire nation (read below), Michèle Merli, in charge of France’s road safety and working closely with Claude Guéant – current French interior minister, has made herself heard on national radio. According to Ms Merli, it would appear that the bikers have totally misunderstood the proposed obligation for all to wear a fluorescent high visibility yellow vest! Ms Merli has said that it has never been a question of wearing that vest but rather propose (not impose?!) to the bikers that they wear a little yellow strap around their arm so that they can be better seen by motorists. According to Ms Merli, that only costs 3 euros, so certainly everyone can afford it! UK France believe that it is not the bikers who have misunderstood the latest government’s proposals but rather the French government who continue to severely misunderstand and under-estimate the safety of riders. As if wearing a little yellow strap around one arm, and no obligation for bikers to wear appropriate protective clothing, was indeed going to make them more visible on the road and, more importantly, protect them from injuries in case of accident. The FFMC (French Federation of Angry Bikers that organised the massive demonstrations all over France reported below) has urged all bikers in France to stay tuned and get prepared for another series of paralysing demonstrations all over the nation in no later than September unless, of course, the government abandons their proposals by then! UK France is committed to support the actions of the FFMC by keeping all our readers around the globe informed of the developments. Stay tuned!

UK France is the only website that is solely focused on motorcycle news in France and the United Kingdom, all in english.


ORIGINAL POST – 18 June 2011


France has today seen the largest motorcycle protest ever seen before with almost 100,000 bikers paralysing the whole nation, from north to south and west to east. A real slap in the face of Claude Guéant, French interior minister, who has been trying to push through a series of ridiculous proposals designed to treat bikers like cash cows when, let’s recognise it, bikers are willing to use a mode of transport that guarantees zero congestion, considerably reduces pollution and offers a more affordable solution to those facing financial difficulties. 100,000 bikers paralysing the whole nation, what a massive humiliation for the French government and its interior minister, Claude Guéant.

Claude Guéant continues to treat motorcycles like cars in France by banning traffic filtering (lane splitting) and forcing all riders to remain stationary in traffic jams, as if they were driving cars. The same Claude Guéant is trying to push through the obligation for all riders to wear a fluorescent yellow high visibility vest without worrying about what they may wear underneath. They may wear absolutely nothing underneath that vest, it doesn’t matter, as long as they wear it, and never mind if they fall off their bike and severely hurt themselves! Claude Guéant is not concerned about safety, after all why would he, as long as he sees the French government cashing in thousands of euros per day from motorcyclists who fail to follow his silly rules, then he’s happy. Not to mention Guéant’s proposal to force all bikers to change their registration plate for a bigger one, as if this had an impact on reducing the number of road accidents involving motorcyclists!

Bikers in France are just fed up with Guéant’s stupid proposals and his “I can’t see you, I can’t hear you” attitude, to the extent that almost 100,000 of them have today standed up against their government and paralysed the whole nation. The Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC – French Federation of Angry Bikers), through its highly efficient network of regional and local offices, organised demonstrations in every single city and town across the country. Each town and city was brought to a complete standstill for hours with the local population being totally unable to move around. Paris alone saw more than 15,000 bikers blocking the heart of the capital, Lyon (France’s second largest city) saw more than 10,000 bikers, Lille (in the north of the country) counted more than 7,000 angry motorcyclists, Toulouse (in the south-west) was totally blocked by 8,000 bikers, Marseille and Bordeaux (in the south-east and south-west respectively) were also paralysed by 3,000 bikers each. Thousands of bikers blocked central France with 3,500 of them in Clermont-Ferrand, the whole of Brittany (in the north-west) with more than 3,000 bikers in Brest, Quimper and Rennes. The east of the country was also brought to a standstill with more than 6,000 bikers protesting in Strasbourg, Mulhouse Reims and Metz. Smaller towns were also the scene of protests with 600 bikers each in Niort and Dijon, 400 in the beautiful and historic town of Carcassonne, 700 in Perpignan, 900 in Poitiers and 500 in Auxerre, to name a few. Not only the bikers protested in mainland France but also in a few of its overseas territories including the island of Reunion (located off Madagascar and Mauritius) with almost 2,000 bikers, the islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe in the Caribbean and also some bikers gathered on the island of New Caledonia (located off Australia and New Zealand).

15,000 bikers ride en masse through Paris blocking the city centre.

10,000 bikers ride en masse through Lyon blocking the city centre.

Despite the pouring rain that fell over most of France today, the 100,000 bikers still went ahead with their protests to express their disgust at Guéant’s proposals. Claude Guéant has so far refused to listen but will he now listen to tens of thousands of bikers who have clearly proved to him that they have the power to bring the whole country to a complete stop? Let’s not forget that France is less than a year away from the next presidential elections, so will Guéant stand on the safe side and finally listen to the bikers if he is not to lose his position in the next government? The FFMC has clearly stated its intention to organise further similar demonstrations in no later than September if Guéant’s proposals are not abandoned immediately.



15,000 bikers outside the French government headquarters in Paris!


15,000 bikers take over the Paris ring road (peripherique) in both directions! Cars, keep out!



The bikers block central Paris for hours!


The bikers block the famous Concorde square in central Paris


15,000 bikers protest outside the French government headquarters in central Paris


The angry bikers ride through central Paris making it a car free zone!


The angry bikers continue their protest through central Paris


Mr Guéant wants all bikers to wear a high visibility vest... without worrying about what they may wear underneath that vest for their safety. So some angry bikers from the town of Valence had a feel for what riding almost naked is like! These bikers are riding legally since all they are required to do is wear a high visibility jacket! Some French politicians will never cease to amaze us with their level of absurdity!


If you’re based in France and want to take part of the fight against the Government’s proposed introduction of a compulsory annual environmental and road safety test for motorcycles and their continued policy to ban motorcyclists from filtering through traffic, then contact the Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC – French Federation of Angry Bikers).

Si vous habitez en France et souhaitez participer aux manifestations contre la proposition du gouvernement d’introduire un controle technique pour les 2 roues motorises ansi que de continuer a empecher la circulation inter files pour les motocyclistes dans les embouteillages, contactez la Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC).


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. We’re with you all the way! Vive les bikers Francais!

  2. John Hughes permalink

    Excellent, Well Done France

  3. hi,
    in auxerre, we were 500, motorcycle and cars.
    It’s the first time for this number
    Excuse me for the mistakes
    Jean Philippe Bernard: coordinator of FFMC89
    I want to say thank you.
    Best regards

    • UK France bikers permalink

      Thank you Jean-Philippe for your comment. We have updated the number of protestors in Auxerre from 400 (as we were initially told) to 500, as you have advised. Thanks for your support and congratulations to FFMC89 for having organised such an amazing protest in Auxerre!

  4. Australian Biker permalink

    Well done French Bikers, I salute you; we should declare one day to stop the whole world to protest for our freedom……….

    • debra schuberg permalink

      Totally agree , fight for our rights ………………. Salute to France ……….

  5. chris piper, downtrodden british biker permalink

    Good on you….just wish us brits had the same approach….may you ride forever in the sun

  6. Alan Ball permalink

    Excellent well done to all of you.

  7. john bernath permalink

    However, not so good if you are trying to get to CDG for your return flight to South Africa, as was the case with my wife and I. Luckily, we had a driver who should enter the next Monte Carlo Rally. We left our hotel in central Paris and 17h45 and got to CDG at 20h20.

  8. Salut!

    Vive les bikers

  9. GARRY DAVIS permalink

    Well done to the French Bikers, I just wish that Motorcyclist everywhere would join their riders rights group ( Mag and the Bmf ) and fight these daft buggers who want to get us off the road. What is it with politicians, why don’t they sort out the mess that they have all created and are responsible for, and leave us Motorcyclist alone. I love France, but if this crap goes through, i’ll visit no more ( LOST REVENUE FOR FRANCE ) i’ll stay in England.
    Good luck to you all in your fight, if this goes ahead, then whats next

  10. Gary permalink

    Way to go. Now why can’t we do something similar in the UK about the Bike parking tax !

  11. Kev Garrington permalink

    Absolutely bang on, France is showing the rest of us the way, let’s get out on the streets in the UK – get to the demo in Birmingham on the 2nd July.

    Governments continue to show their complete ignorance arrogance and stupidity with these laws

    Well done the French Bikers, one thing you can always count on is the French standing up and being counted to protect their freedom, fantastic turn out fellas, well done

  12. Peter Greaves (Glos MAG). permalink

    Fantastic! French citizens repeatedly show us Brits how we should be dealing with ignorant politicians. Can this get through to the general apathetic servitude of UK citizens? I hope so, we have a great need in this country to show that democracy belongs to those who stand up for it, and the way forward is to act, not just sit at home/pubs and bemoan the loss of our freedom. Well done all those who brought France to a standstill, hopefully your politicians will respond with sense, not deafness as they have done so many times here.

  13. Thierry permalink

    I wish there was more solidarity in the U.K……….

  14. Beaufort permalink

    Allez, les motards!

  15. Smeg permalink

    Excellent! Carry on the fight!

  16. Vive les bikers Francais !!!!

    May your lid never skid…

  17. What Bike parking Tax ? not heard that one before…. Well done to the French Bikers with em all the way. would it happen in the this country, doubt it we are tooooooo British ole boy what!….. i would definately attend one.. wish we did more about fuel costs as well

    • Wookie permalink

      Ride to live / Live to ride.
      Being a biker is more than just riding a motorbike.
      Well done to the FFMC and all those who took part.


  18. Very well done – Chapeau!
    Nobody deserves politicians like these…

  19. ann permalink

    well done to you… day us brit bikers will stand up united just like you!!! heres hoping….

  20. Franck Huyghe permalink

    hey guys , wonderful work paralyzing all the towns rapid expressway, and especially in Lille where i am from, been residing and riding in Los Angeles for 30 years, its time we all get together and fight all those stupid and money maker laws that shouldnt be in place in the first place.
    lets definitely organize a day throughout the world where all bikers can get together and protest, that would be swell.

    that guy in the picture with the butt floss 😉 boots and vest, chapeau…


  21. This is how we should protest in the Uk
    Take Note MCN Mag
    This is the way forward

  22. American Traveler permalink

    We were in Paris (from America) the day this happened. We were on our way to the Opera Bastille, and dropped off in the middle of it. It was absolute madness! Thank you for posting the pics. I can add this to my scrapbook of my Paris trip. Also thanks, for the article…we had no clue what they were protesting over. There was another protest the next day as well. I’m not sure if it’s part of the same protest or not, because another article I found said the Chinese were there protesting the way they were treated by the Muslims.

  23. Allez, les motards! Bravo, tres bien!

  24. vdk permalink

    This is what we should’ve done in Ontario.

    Greetings from Canada.

  25. anetisauen permalink

    En même temps, si les motards respectaient un peu plus les règles de conduites, ils auraient plus de sympathie de la part des automobilistes.

    Entre les dépassements sauvages, les excès de vitesses systématiques, le bruit indécent et ceux qui se faufilent entre les lignes aux feux (ce qui n’est pas autorisé dans le code), on a pas vraiment envie de les soutenir.

  26. Steve permalink

    I heard about the rally on Thursday, rode out from Milton Keynes (UK) to Lille Saturday and had a blast. Well organised event for a great cause against dumb politicians, well done to our French biker-friends and I’ll be back out in September if it happens again. Steve

  27. Job well done, What an amazing turnout. Viva la France

  28. MARK NELMS permalink


  29. Ron Marchand permalink

    Hey, I loved seeing absolutely no Harley’s in all those bike photos! Sport and sport touring make more sense to me even though all bikes are a blast. You can sure tell a non North American photo.
    As far as visability, don’t enforce it! I wear that colour and I won’t be as easily seen if everyone wears the damn colour. Keep up the fight. To make a point, ride naked and spray paint yourselves high viability yellow.


  30. Blu permalink

    From over in Australia…I take my hat off to you all. Wish we had such a large group of riders here that would do the same thing and stand up to our government. Good luck and again well done!

  31. Well done French bikers! I wish this kind of protest was possible here in Germany. But all the average local biker has to say about e.g. roads which are blocked for bikes during week ends is “Meh”.

  32. ian permalink

    Good ol’ Frogs eh….we should do this in the UK, over legislation, petrol price, etc.

    Zoot alors…….

  33. Roscoe Hotfoot permalink

    Nicely done. We American riders are with you!

  34. Well done the French, We’ve all got to stick together on this kind of bull****

  35. jeddy tranquill permalink

    America has repealed the useless and dangerous helmet law in 30 states let’s se you Frenchies do that! You got the power now come on and do it!

  36. Trucka. permalink

    That’s what we need…….more civil unrest to jerk these smarmy greaseball politicians back to reality.

    Well done……..

  37. Chuck .U.Farley permalink

    That’s the spirit! Aussie bikers….take notice! We need more of these “displays of unity” downunder!


  39. gimli permalink

    Good On Ya wish us Ozzys could get to gether and show this gov what we think about new laws and taxes. GIMLI

    • why is it seemingly once elected polatitions seem to become brain dead or think they can protect all us stupid biker citizens from our own stupidity in their eyes. insted of all putting on high vz vests thereby blinding them around us why not allow all of us to be responsible for our own safety.

  40. Viva La France!

  41. Rémi permalink

    Sorry to quote a classic guys, but know we’ve seen the light we got to stand up for our rights…. If push comes to the shove, I’ll for sure be right there. Biking is one of the last form of freedom so won’t let some stupid idiots (yes it’s possible to find stupid idiots, namely politicians) interfering with my way of life.

  42. Doug Trundell permalink

    good on you guys for standing up to stupid laws, keep up the pressure.

  43. dave bloke permalink

    such discrimination should not exist in 2011, where is the human rights bill? or is is that just for the criminals and terrorists?

  44. Debs permalink

    Nice one! The French certainly know how to get their point across once they are riled, rather than bleating and whining on a website. Ooh! That’ll be me then… :0)

  45. Jeff Nagle permalink

    When is the next protest in France?

    • maht permalink

      The next one is the 11th september, it should be in every big city.

  46. What a brilliant site to see, I hope the protest works.

  47. egg permalink

    I am a motorcycle rider from Taiwan
    We are not allowed on the state highway motorcycle

    In fact Taiwan’s motorcycle riders have to keep pressing and persecution faced by car
    Taiwanese government officials also in defiance of the WTO’s basic purpose to deceive WTO
    Would rather let the motorcyclists do not want any open face of danger the safety of road

    Extremely stupid not to mention that according to the system test

    I hope you can be successful action
    Taiwan’s motorcycle riders to learn from your experience for their unequal treatment and sound

    Taiwan’s motorcycle riders to support you! All the people!

  48. Via la France Motorcyclists! :clap:

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