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French bikers: keep watching your speed whilst touring Europe

October 6, 2013

French speed signWe published a post a couple of months ago where we explained that France and Spain had agreed to exchange vehicle registration data, as it is now more and more the case between member states of the European Union. This means that car drivers and motorcycle riders caught speeding, going through red traffic lights, driving/riding under excess of alcohol or more generally breaching the highway code of the EU member state they are visiting, will eventually find a nasty and expensive fine at their doorstep in their country of origin.

The French authorities have successfully continued to secure vehicle registration data exchange agreements with other European countries. France and the Netherlands have recently signed such agreements, which means that any biker/car driver registered in France or Holland and found breaching the local road regulations in the other country will be sent (recorded delivery) a nasty fine at home on their return.

This may be confusing for a number of road users because speed and alcohol consumption limits are still not totally harmonised across the European Union, which means that each member state may impose its own regulations, within reason. Drivers/riders registered in France are therefore strongly advised to familiarise themselves with the road regulations of the European country they wish to visit to avoid receiving a ticket at home.

Three member states of the European Union have (so far) refused to enter into vehicle data exchange agreements. These are Denmark, the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom, so UK bikers/drivers do not face the risk of receiving a fine at home should they mis-behave on the European continent. However, UK bikers/drivers still face the risk of having to pay a fine on the spot if caught by a cop on a continental road.

We have yet to see what happens if a driver/biker refuses to pay the fine once back home, as it is our understanding that the recovery of the monies due are under the full and sole responsibility of the country which issued the fine in the first place. So if a French biker caught mis-behaving on the road whilst visiting the Netherlands decides to ignore the fine once back home, we have yet to see whether the Dutch authorities would turn up at the biker’s doorstep in France to demand payment. The same principle applies to any other EU country with which France has signed vehicle data exchange agreements.

If you have experienced the receipt of a fine from another EU country as a result of breaching the local highway code in any way, please do not hesitate to leave a comment and share your experience with us and other readers.

Further reading (in French): Infractions routières: un nouvel accord entre les Pays-Bas et la France

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If you’re based in France and want to take part in the fight against the Government’s 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 pour la circulation inter files des motocyclistes dans les embouteillages, contactez la Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC).

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3 Comments
  1. Glen Allsopp permalink

    If you do get sent a fine from another EU country that you visit regularly I would recommend that you pay it. The French authorities are very aggressive in chasing non payers, if your bike or car is stopped by them & they discover that you have an outstanding fine they will detain you until you pay it, they will also fine you a much higher amount for non payment. If you have no intention of returning with the offending vehicle then I’d ignore the fine.

  2. Stephen permalink

    “This means that car drivers and motorcycle riders caught speeding, going through red traffic lights, driving/riding under excess of alcohol or more generally breaching the highway code of the EU member state they are visiting, will eventually find a nasty and expensive fine at their doorstep in their country of origin”.

    And why not?? You’re breaching the law … end of!!

  3. Alan permalink

    In essence, I agree with Stephen. Very few countries in Europe have Draconian traffic laws or enforcement. All major roads have speed signs so there are no excuses. Citing the differences in drink-drive limits is also a bit daft. I bet >80% of drivers in Britain don’t know the breath and blood alcohol limits in the UK! So what difference does it make if the numbers are different in France, German, Greece…?
    Stick to the rules in each country and you’ll have a safer, cheaper holiday… and you won’t p**s off the locals!

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