Skip to content

Paris: car pound or bike pound?

September 24, 2011

Motorcyclists in Paris have always enjoyed the right to park their bike on the footpath, as long as their machine does not obstruct the pedestrian right of way. The number of motorbikes and scooters in Paris have significantly increased in the last ten years, as Parisians now prefer to move around on two wheels which offer them a much more reliable, cheaper, faster and less polluting mode of transport.

With the ever increasing number of motorcycles in circulation in the French capital, and thus the ever increasing opposition of bikers to any newly introduced anti-bike legislation, the authorities now seem to be taking draconian measures against motorcycle parking on pavements, which has always been permitted (or, in fact, tolerated). In the last week or so, hundreds of bikers have found their motorcycle, initially parked on the pavement without obstructing the footpath, moved into the pound without any notice. Many of the victims, who assumed their motorcycle had been stolen, phoned the police and were told that their machine had been taken to the pound for illegal parking.

This comes of course straight after a series of enormous demonstrations where thousands of motorcyclists brought Paris to a complete standstill three times this year so far with more to come. Instead of listening to the motorcyclists and considering what they have to say, the authorities find it more appropriate (and amusing) to inconvenience them even more by treating bikes like cars and delibarately failing to recognise that motorcycles, if parked without obstructing the footpath, don’t cause any harm to anyone. Can we expect another bikers’ demonstration in Paris alone by the end of the year which may significantly inconvenience the authorities? We will find out and keep you posted…

The unfortunate bikers who have had their bike taken to the pound, not only had to travel (by public transport) to the other side of Paris to pick up their machine, but also pay a large fine on the spot to have their motorcycle returned to them. But that is not all… most of them found their motorcycle severely damaged and also had to pay hundreds of euros to have their bike repaired. Have a look at the photos below, they show how the authorities remove motorcycles from their on-street parking spot using car removal equipment, thus severely damaging the bikes! This is just incredible!


First, if you want to park your bike in one of the dedicated motorcycle parking bays whilst cars, lorries or vans are illegally parked just outside the bay making it impossible for you to reach it, those blocking vehicles are delibarately not fined to encourage them to stay and force you to park on the pavement, where your bike will be taken away to the pound... This is pure racket!


The bike is lifted with car removal equipment thus the risk of damage is extremely high... They lift the bike from anywhere, steering wheel, storage box at the back, front wheel, back wheel, absolutely anywhere, without worrying about the damage this may cause!


Here we go again! Another bike is being lifted up without care and with car removal equipment...


The bikes are squeezed against each other without care on a car removal truck. The bikes are not securely fastened thus keep moving around and scraping against each other during the journey to the pound...!


Ready to go! Bikers, see you at the pound and don't forget your cheque book or debit/credit card! Also, be psychologically prepared to find your bike severely damaged!


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).


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. thats absolutely disgusting and to make matters worse the people that are instigating all this were voted in by the same people that are being condemmed, its a totally pointless act of discrimination and set up purely as a money spinner, with less speed camera convictions partly due to the help of sat nav warnings they got to make there money from other souces, i think the demos should increase were being treated like scum, just a thought and i,m not to sure about this but if you write to a government office they are obligated by law to respond, so if all the 2 wheel fraternity wrote to the correct government office asking the reasoning behind all this we would block there system up, bit cheaper than petrol as a one off ????

  2. mark magee permalink

    This is totally out of order i would like to know if the french goverment are going to pay for any damage caused to peoples bikes and what about tourists because i was in paris last week and couldn’t find anywhere to park my bike other than on the pavement i must admit i was parking in busy tourist areas but even so if i had come back to where i had left my bike and found it gone i would have been horrified, this must stop don’t let the bastards grind you down

  3. ECILOP permalink

    As a first time visitor to Paris in late October, I saw motorcycles and scooters parked literally everywhere on the pavement. With the exeption of the area around the Eiffel Tower (where clear signs prohibited motorcycle parking) there were two-wheelers of every description outside shops; cafes; office buildings, all on the footway. No obstruction appeared to caused to pedestrians, and the bikes were all lined up neatly. “This is good: not like London,” I thought!

    Nearer to Notre Dame Cathedral, I ‘followed the crowd’ and parked my motorcycle ‘sur le trottoir’ next to about thirty French motorcycles with “75” plates. The pavement had indentations all over the place from thousands of centre and side stands, which clearly indicated to all that motorcyclists had been habitually parking in this area for many months, or perhaps even years (which of course, does not indicate that it is lawful to do so). When I returned to my motorcycle (with “GB” on the plate) several hours later, I found that I had been issued with a €35 ticket. I asked the two Gendermarmes on duty why I had been given a ticket, and was simply told: “we didn’t issue it, Monsieur.”

    A Parisian gent in a textile motorcycle jacket asked to look at my ticket and started shaking his head in disbelief. In case I ever decide to return to France (which is highly likely) on the same machine, I decided it would be best to just “shut up, and pay up”, rather than risk arrest and prosecution (and a trip to an impound yard to retrieve my pride and joy) so, after a trip to “La Tabac”, my wallet was a little over €35 lighter (one also has to buy two stamps to affix to the ticket which is then placed in a post office pillar box).

    It would appear that mine was the ONLY motorcycle to have been given a ticket (it was, after all the only one without a “75” – perhaps other riders had left prior to my return clutching their tickets?) but after reading your article, I think I got away with my infraction very lightly…

    A salutory lesson: do not park on the pavement in Paris.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: