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Thousands of angry French bikers take up the streets

April 12, 2014

Manif 12 avril 2014 1Once again, France has today been the scene of enormous demonstrations with thousands of motorcyclists gathering in every city across the nation and protesting at the newly proposed speed limit of 80 km per hour on the national road network.

The French government has recently proposed to limit the speed to 80 km per hour on the non-motorway network in an attempt to reduce the number of accidents and casualties on the roads. A large number of bikers fundamentally disagree with the proposal stating that speed is not the main cause of accidents but rather the complete lack of adequate training offered by the government to make drivers realise that driving safely is all about respecting the highway code and learning how to share the roads with other users. The angry bikers accuse the government of wanting to impose draconian measures in the sole attempt to cash in extra euros from road users who simply won’t respect the proposed speed limits.

Manif 12 avril 2014 2Paris alone saw more than 5,000 angry bikers blocking the city centre for hours and bringing it to a complete standstill. “We will never accept to be treated like cash cows by our government just because we refuse to follow stupid rules. We demand better training, improved road infrastructure, access to bus lanes, to name a few. Simply reducing speed limits does not help drivers improve their driving habits and learn how to share the roads with motorcyclists”, says Damien, a frustrated motorbiker we interviewed this afternoon during the Paris protest. The French capital was brought to a complete stop during a busy shopping afternoon and thousands of angry bikers also gathered outside the head council offices to remind the newly elected mayor, Anne Hidalgo, that she’d better keep her promise to maintain motorcycle parking free of charge in Paris if she doesn’t want to have to cope with regular and highly disruptive bikers’ demonstrations.

Manif 12 avril 2014 3Other cities across France also saw massive protests today with thousands of angry motorcyclists showing their opposition to the reduced speed limit. Lyon, the second largest French city, was also paralysed this afternoon with thousands of bikers blocking the city centre and protesting at the new speed restrictions. A number of key roads and junctions had to close in the heart of Lyon as they were taken over by the angry bikers. Protests took place in 80 towns and cities across the country and were all organised by regional branches of the extremely respected and powerful Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC) also known in English as the French Federation of Angry Bikers.

A number of fellow bikers in the United Kingdom have been following the actions undertaken by their French cousins with deep interest. “We very much admire our French colleagues for their determination to fight every piece of anti-bike legislation. Unfortunately, in the U.K. bikers tend to accept government spin and don’t have the courage to say no to stupid laws like the French do. We don’t have such a powerful body like the FFMC and I wish we had one. Vive la France!”, said Graham, a London based biker.

The French government will further discuss the proposals in May and a decision will be made by the end of the year. The bikers are prepared to take up the streets again if need be to express their on-going anger.

We now leave you with a few videos which will give you an idea of how angry French bikers were today…

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15 Comments
  1. Peter Easter permalink

    Statistics (2012) support the FFMC position. In the UK, with similar speed limits (but 100kph on unrestricted roads against 90kph in France), the annual road deaths are around 1/2 for a far more crowded road system. There is a problem of attitude here in France (road user chauvinism?) and better education and appropriate testing would do far more to reduce the death toll. However, Belgium is worse!
    Pete
    Paris 17

  2. Sam permalink

    Nice videos of bikers in jeans, trainers and t-shirts…

    • Maria permalink

      Sam, wearing jeans, trainers and t-shirts will not make you have an accident, in fact, you can technically ride a bike totally naked and that will not prompt you have an accident neither…lol What will make you have an accident is riding like a muppet, (I do agree that some of us do some times) or alternately other road users who unfortunately have never been on a bike in their life’s and do not understand the little visibility and the high vulnerability bikers have.

    • Carotbut permalink

      Come to California… many ride in shorts, tank tips and sandals…

    • renaud permalink

      Well most of them are properly equipped,
      but Maria what you say is wrong, french bikers like me, protest against the new proposal law of speed limit, the government say speed kill, I say speed do not kill but bad equipment do the job, in fact we can say that people who drive with trainers and T-shirt are brainless.
      people who drive naked will love the feeling of a tiny wasp kissing him

  3. Kev Garrington permalink

    Hats off to the French bikers again, at least they are prepared to take action on the streets. The comment from a ‘London based Biker’ saying we don’t have a powerful body like the FFMC in the UK is incorrect. The problem we have in the UK is total apathy to support the body that is the only one that does anything in the UK and that’s the Motorcycle Action Group.

    The greater majority of bikers in the UK are not a member of MAG and continue to bleat and moan and do nothing and then blame MAG!…….and they aren’t even a member?! If you want to change something or are not happy with a law get off your arse and DO SOMETHING. The French set us a great example. of what we need to be doing.

  4. Tony Holt permalink

    My thoughts exactly Kev Garrington. Plenty of keyboard warriors moaning on Facebook etc. but doing precious little else.

  5. It is undeniable that the prime cause of the high accidents in France is the French. Have you seen the way they drive cars? However, I thoroughly applaud the direct action that the French bikers are taking.

  6. wouldnt happen in england we just take it here as the car drivers here are appaling

  7. Doug permalink

    Excellent! Well done! Now if others had more balls……………….

  8. why not make the speed limit zero and suck out all the joys of life.

  9. Motorcyclists in Quebec should as proud as motorcyclists in France. In Quebec they just complain and pay. political parties in Quebec have made us their cash cows.
    Only the Movement Motocyclistes Quebec (MMQ) is taking the SAAQ to court for their discrimination and abusive regulations.
    Out of 145,000 motorcyclists there is only 400 that have supported the MMQ. What a shame.

  10. Martin permalink

    Excellent protests I trust they do NOT BRING that to NZ

  11. caratz permalink

    I was a very active member of MAG Belgium until I got to know that its president was involved in an accident because he was riding after a bout of drinking alcoholic beverages, and had the gall to whine about the state of the roads. If THIS is the example they are trying to set, I’m not interested. That doesn’t make me happier at the state of legal traps put on the roads, but I don’t see any association in which I fit.

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