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Thousands of motorbikes and scooters banned from French city centres

March 1, 2012

Who would have imagined that someone could possibly come up with the idea of banning motorbikes and scooters from city centres, when the same motorbikes and scooters are the transport solution to ever increasing congestion and pollution issues? Well, only one politician has come up with such a ridiculous idea and that is Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet (left) from the French green party, who has successfully submitted proposals to ban all vehicles manufactured prior to 2004 from city centres, including motorcycles.

Riders who commute on bikes that were manufactured before 2004 may not enter French city centres or else see their machines immobilised and issued with a fine of 65 euros payable on the spot. The same rules apply to their car counterparts in an attempt to reduce congestion and pollution in all cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants. The French government has recently approved Kosciusko-Morizet’s proposals although no official date has yet been announced for their implementation.

One could wonder how long it may take a French citizen or organisation to start legal procedures to sue the French government in the European Courts for discrimination against those who cannot afford to buy a new vehicle, especially during the present economic downturn that is causing thousands upon thousands of job losses across the whole of France. We have indeed heard of plans to sue the French government in Europe in an attempt to force Kosciusko-Morizet to scrap, or at least revise, her stupid and possibly discriminatory plans.

Whilst other European countries have taken a series of measures to reduce pollution and congestion in city centres, none has so far taken measures that consists of banning motorcycles. The congestion charge in the British capital does not affect motorcycles nor does the low emission zone measures. Whilst London’s Westminster Council decided a few years ago to treat bikers like cash cows by introducing a unique pay-by-phone bike parking tax (the method of which is currently being challenged before the European Court of Human Rights), other councils across London, the rest of the United Kingdom and beyond have thankfully not followed suit, mainly because of the socially exclusive aspect of charging bikers by mobile phone in the absence of any other suitable on-street charging method.

Not only may Kosciusko-Morizet’s proposals be discriminatory towards those with financial difficulties but they may also be detrimental to the French economy as many car and motorcycle dealers may not be able to sustain their second hand business any longer. Has she thought about the wider implications of her proposals rather than concentrate solely on green issues? We suspect that such proposals have been made by a politician from the comfort of her own office and who has never sat on a motorcycle before.

A series of enormous demonstrations designed to bring the whole of France to a complete standstill by more than 100,000 bikers are scheduled for 24 and 25 March 2012. The demonstrations, organised by the most respected Fédération Française des Motards en Colère – FFMC – (French Federation of Angry Bikers), will be to show the bikers’ opposition to Kosciusko-Morizet’s proposals but also to express their disgust at the French government’s attitude to treat motorcyclists like cash cows by imposing measures designed to make riding difficult and expensive (e.g. the continued ban on traffic filtering or lane splitting, obligation to wear a small reflective strap around the arm even during day light when it is not reflective at all). Let’s hope that the demonstrations, which will take place less than four weeks before the first round of the presidential elections, will be a real slap in the face for a number of presidential candidates for whom road policies and safety are nothing but an opportunity to grab as much money as possible from motorcyclists who are keen to relieve congestion and pollution by using a mode of transport that is greener and less congesting than its four wheel counterparts.


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. Peter Easter permalink

    I’ve not heard of the anti filtering regs. This January on the Paris Périphérique virtually every bike and scooter I saw were filtering down the white line between the outside lane and the next (a trick I’ve also seen being done by police cars!).
    Is there a site which itemizes all these weird new things we’re supposed to be doing when riding in France – its getting hard to keep up?

  2. I would love to know the precise grounds that can be used to justify what seems a totally arbitrary cut-off point – it’s not like it’s an attempt to ban the least fuel efficient vehicles, is it. It’s truly bizarre that this is supposed to be a green policy, yet in enacted would force the scrapping of hundreds of thousands of perfectly servicable vehicles of all kinds, two and four wheeled, and their replacement with entirely new products. It’s the kind of idea a school child would dream up.

  3. Sam permalink

    I wonder what the carbon footprint of scapping an old vehicle and buying a new one is. Just how much smoke and chemicals are released in the needless manufacture?

  4. It may not be entirely coincidental that Citroen-Peugeot announced a cut of some 5,000 non-production jobs in October 2011 in a cost-cutting effort and were planning temporary work stoppages at some factories due to falling sales.

  5. p hurley permalink

    she is proberly rich and live in a difrent world who was it said let them eat cake?? french by any chance.when are we leaving europ whille we can

  6. Garry Davis permalink

    Can I just say a big ” Thank You “, to all the “Behind the scenes people “, who put this web page together. I stumbled on this website a few months ago, and have been very impressed with the content and information given.
    I am gob smacked by the latest crap that is hemorrhaging from the mouth of the latest politician, to bash motorcyclist’s, one Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, is this women for real. How does this woman get to work, by push bike ( Hope she wears a yellow vest and crash helmet and takes out personal accident insurance ), car, train, all of which damage the environment in one way or another. Will the French green party be helping everyone replace their motorbikes and cars every 8 years, by way of financial remuneration ( Probably not ).
    I’m sorry to say this but some of the French politicians seem to have lost their marbles. I love France and the French people, I have had some truly wonderful times in France, but I refuse to put silly armbands on and be band from France’s city’s just because of the age of my Triumph.
    So that’s it for my visit’s to France. Lost revenue for the French government.
    Maybe if all motorcyclist would have joined their country’s riders rights groups MAG & BMF,( In UK ) years ago, we wouldn’t be facing this continual onslaught from these people, who think that the know best for us.
    If this onslaught was aimed at religious groups or ethnic groups, could you imagine the outcry from these groups. I bet it wouldn’t get very far. But as we are the easy target, and lets face it, we as bikers don’t stick together, so they walk all over us.

  7. Bandit permalink

    What’s this silly mare’s problem? Did she get scared by a biker when she was little?

    Sadly, it is sad manifestation of the ‘Green’ zealots who’s clueless, non-cohesive policies will doom Western economies.
    Is there no-one in French politics with the intelligence to stand up to this insanity? I thought our lot were bad enough, but this is a special kind of stoopid.

    Vive le FFMC! Hope the demo went well!

  8. Isn’t it a shame that someone with the name Kosciusko is such a pig headed klutz! a national hero of Poland and a person of integrity and a true fighting spirit.
    someone needs to educate her and quick..!

  9. adrien permalink

    Just a comment: Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet isn’t from the green party at all. She’s actually close to Nicolas Sarkozy, and his current spokesperson in the presidential campaign. This particular measure sounds like more of a show-off “see-how-active-we-are” measure, something the current government has been doing a lot… But otherwise “NKM”, as she’s nicknamed, was one of the few in her party who were not too bad at their job. She’s far from an idiot, and way more progressive than her colleagues — not surprising as she’s also one of the youngest. Too bad they didn’t give her much freedom to actualy push her own ideas…

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