Me and the girlfriend (on the one bike) are doing a w/e trip to France in a couple of days. Catching the ferry from Dover on Friday night, spending the night in Calais, riding as far as we can saturday and then riding back to catch the ferry on Sunday night.
I’ve never ridden on the ‘wrong’ side of the road before on a bike (although lots by car) and never done a road trip through France. Anybody have and advice or recomendations??
You don’t need a headlight deflector (I’m positive this is correct for bikes). Checking the AA site will tell you any special road rules http://www.theaa.com/motoring_advice/touring_tips/AA_France_Monaco.pdf but this is more car-oriented (e.g. it says you need a warning triangle, but I’ve never taken one on a bike when I’ve been in France and I can’t believe anyone else does. This MUST only apply to cars imho)
The one BIG thing I’d say is to fill your tank the last thing on Saturday. Petrol on Sunday in France is often a nightmare. Some places (especially those open on Sundays) are automatic and you have to prepay by card, but they only take French cards. If you’re with your girlfriend, then she’ll be able to do one useful thing if she learns the phrases for “Sorry. I’m just a daft Brit. Pleeeeeeease can I pay you some cash and get you to use your card so I can get some petrol.” and practises looking like a damsel in distress.
But you’ll most likely have a great time and encounter no trouble at all.
The way I have always understood it is that you either need hazzard flashers or a triangle on a bike.I would gladly be proved wrong:)ALSOHave you ever riden a bike in France in pitch black with your light beam pointing away from the curb?I have, and would not recommend it:crazy:
Re: speed cameras… The automatic ones are not a problem at all (especially the front facing ones ;)). There is NO agreement in place atm between the UK and France so they’ll get a picture of your licence plate and do f*ck all with it.
It’s the coppers you need to be wary of because if they stop you then you have to pay straight away or they confiscate the vehicle.
If you are not more than 40 km/h over the limit then you’ll just have to pay €90. Some coppers will be happy to escort you to the nearest cash point if you show them your credit card but they don’t have to and can decide otherwise so having €90 on you at all time helps
If you are more than 40 km/h but less than 50km/h over the limit it’s up to them to decide what to do but provided you are polite and say you’re very sorry most will let you go with a €90 fine.
If you are more than 50km/h over the limit then things start getting nasty as it’s ‘go straight to jail’ speed (although I’m not sure what they do for foreigners) and fines of about €1000 or more.
Note that in France as soon as the weather turns wet all speed limits are reduced. The definition of ‘wet’ weather is left to the Police to interpret so if the road surface is wet but it’s not raining they can still argue that it’s wet weather.
Also the speed limit is reduced under tunnels and on some bridges for motorcycles (because of high winds).
When coppers measure your speed they take off abougt 10% of the real speed. So if you’re cruising at an indicated 180 km/h (about 110 mph) on motorways on a dry day the worst that can happen is a €90 fine. On wet days, cruise at an indicated 150 km/h and the same applies if you get caught.
Rumours of coppers looking at Motorway toll tickets are an urban legend. However, at toll booths bike must not use the ‘credit card’ lanes. This is because bikes are charged less than cars.
On A and B roads the speed limit is 90 km/h (about 55 mph) unless signed otherwise and you must always reduce your speed to 50 km/h when crossing towns even if no sign warns you of the reduction in speed limit (and coppers love to seat at the entrance or exit of small villages…).
Recently the coppers’s favourite technique is to have a car hidden in the sevice road on the side a few km after the automatic speed-camera followed by a couple of police motorcycle (again hidden) a few km away.
Also be aware that filtering is illegal in France even though most bikers will do it (it is only tolerated). When doing it, it is customary to thank cars that give you an extra space by lifting your right foot off the peg.
No one seems to sell headlight deflectors for bikes and most people even say not to worry about it. Guess I can just shine them up against a wall and gaffer tape out the bit the shines left? Or I could try one of the car ones they sell in Halfords. Not planning on any night riding anyway but will be using it during the day.
I used to run an international coach company and drive 'em, I never speed on toll roads unless I’m gonna stop at the services en route for a break They only check random tickets, or stop vehicles that have been spotted going quick. Peage tickets are evidence, do you feel lucky?
Thats all I do… Use Black Gaffer Tape. There is an outline on some lenses of a triangle type shape that you can trace around and cut tape to suit. If you are’nt planning on any riding after dark you might as well not bother.
E111 - or EHIC as its now called is so you can get free European health treatment. Its so you can use the French NHS in time of emergency.