France - Legal Requirements?

Maquerade

New Member
Hi - planning a cycling trip to France in September. Where can I find the laws I'm meant to comply with. For example - clothing, what to do if involved in an accident, etc, etc.
 

StuartG

slower but further
Location
SE London
Ride on right(ish). Don't be overcome by the consideration of motorists who (except on main roads) are liable to pass you at a safe distance or even hold back.

This is in the country, of course. Paris is always different!

Like the UK - helmets and clothing are a matter of choice. It is a very enjoyable place to cycle.
 

battered

Guru
No clothing requirements. Well, not beyond basic decency. ;-)

Lights after dark.

Officially reflectors and bell, but new bikes come with these and the crappiest lights you have ever seen, and they are guaranteed to fall off before you leave the car park.

Think that's about it. I lived there for 3 years, I was unaware of any special reqmts other than common sense and what you'd do back home.

Have a nice time. Drink plenty of water, it gets warm out there. :-)
 
OP
M

Maquerade

New Member
Many thanks. The routes are not "main roads" (N-roads) but country lanes in Normandy which I'm assuming are like country roads in England - narrow, high hedges, twisty and populated by farm vehicles <grin>. We will ride on the correct side - most of the time anyway.
 
OP
M

Maquerade

New Member
battered said:
No clothing requirements. Well, not beyond basic decency. ;-)

Lights after dark.

Officially reflectors and bell, but new bikes come with these and the crappiest lights you have ever seen, and they are guaranteed to fall off before you leave the car park.

Think that's about it. I lived there for 3 years, I was unaware of any special reqmts other than common sense and what you'd do back home.

Have a nice time. Drink plenty of water, it gets warm out there. :-)
Many thanks. In case of "mishap", do I need to notify the local police? Is this an emergency call or should I find local numbers?
 

battered

Guru
No need to notify police unless there is an offence. In the case of paramedical assistance (hope not) bear in mind that in France this is done by the Fire Service (les pompiers), not ambulance. There is a national number (18 iirc) that calls them on any land line. I think they cal it "Service de Secours" (emergency services) and as in the UK this patches you through to the emergency operator. The numbers are displayed in phone boxes. As in the UK if you are reporting a road accident there is every possibility they will send the police anyway to ensure the safety of other road users and any paramedics on the scene.
 

Fiona N

Veteran
I understood that after dark a high-vis jacket with reflective materials was required and that a 'Sam Browne'-type of reflective belt wasn't sufficient.

Or is this only for organised events? I know there's a lot of discussion on the YACF Paris-Brest-Paris forum to the extent that I'm already planning a homemade vest so that I can test and ensure the sort of performance I want rather than buying some off-the-peg at the last minute and getting an horrible hot stiff unwearable item ;)
 

battered

Guru
In 3 years in France I never saw anyone wearing a hi viz jacket on a bike, either before or after dark. I didn't own one.

Here in the UK I wear a straightforward hi viz vest when I feel the need. It may help, though I'm coming to the conclusion that if a motorist doesn't give a toss about cyclists, then he doesn't give a toss about cyclists in hi viz either.
 

andym

Über Member
There definitely is a legal requirement to wear a reflective jacket/gilet at night or in conditions of poor visibility. This doesn't apply outside agglomerations (so basically anywhere that doesn't have street lighting).

[EDIT: see yello's correction below. I should have either said that if only applies outside "agglomerations" or it doesn't apply inside them. D'oh!]

The fact that it's largely ignored doesn't mean it doesn't exist. People can make up their own minds about whether to wear one.
 

djmc

Über Member
Location
Quimper
Phoning in case of emergency 15 (SAMU), 18 (Pompiers), 17 (Police). 112 which you should be able to call from any mobile, even one without a valid sim card, or without credit will get the emergency services. You should be able to get English speaking assistance reasonably easily.

High vis clothing is easily available and widely worn. The cycling club I am a member of gave all members a high vis gilet soon after the legislation came out. Since they are rather good as gilets as well as since French clubs start very early in the morning they are widely worn. While there is no requirement for helmets, club riders wear them almost universally, and many randonées and sportives insist on them. There is no real resistance among the riders for either.

There is a French legal requirement that the public should assist anyone who has been injured or is in danger, and it can be the case that one can be prosecuted for not doing so. I don't think that very much is required other than staying around and notifying authorities, but it would mean one shouldn't ignore anything like this on the grounds that it is nothing to do with you.

If you are involved in an accident either on a bike or in a car with another vehicle you will need to give details in the insurance claims form which motorists should carry. If you are touring and carrying kitchen sinks anyway it may be an idea to carry a couple of these. French law generally, and the insurance firms specifically are less tolerant of the claim that the cyclist wasn't seen, or wasn't injured.
 

yello

Legendary Member
Location
France
I have been told, though fortunately have no personal experience, that phoning the pompiers (firemen plus) can be the best course of action in case of emergency. The reason being that they tend to be more widely spread, and so likely closer to you, have a decent level of medical training with the equipment to match, and can assess the situation and liaise with the other emergency services as required. It sounds reasonable to me for rural areas (where ambulance services are taxis!) but suspect it's the case in urban areas.

+1 for what andym says re high viz. My club mates ALWAYS wear high viz during hours of darkness.
 

Arch

Married to Night Train
Location
Salford, UK
yello said:
I have been told, though fortunately have no personal experience, that phoning the pompiers (firemen plus) can be the best course of action in case of emergency. The reason being that they tend to be more widely spread, and so likely closer to you, have a decent level of medical training with the equipment to match, and can assess the situation and liaise with the other emergency services as required.
OT a bit, but I noticed recently that the fire stations are often signposted in towns. Seemed a bit odd - it's not like you often take a fire to the fire brigade....:ohmy:

Of course, given their over-seeing role, it makes more sense.

With regard to the minor roads - I dunno about all of Normandy, but I wouldn't expect too many that are excessively twisty, narrow, or hedgey. Many of the D roads are brilliant, and virtually traffic free. Yes, there are a lot of tractors though....

Don't forget to say bonjour to everyone - you'll get far more replies than you would here.

Oh, I want to be back there!
 

yello

Legendary Member
Location
France
andym said:
There definitely is a legal requirement to wear a reflective jacket/gilet at night or in conditions of poor visibility. This doesn't apply outside agglomerations (so basically anywhere that doesn't have street lighting).
Whoops! I said "+1" but have just realised andym has got it wrong way about, probably not intentionally since he's otherwise spot on.

There is no need for high viz within town boundaries at any time.
 

andym

Über Member
yello said:
Whoops! I said "+1" but have just realised andym has got it wrong way about, probably not intentionally since he's otherwise spot on.

There is no need for high viz within town boundaries at any time.
Yep I think I managed to confuse myself there.
 
yello said:
I have been told, though fortunately have no personal experience, that phoning the pompiers (firemen plus) can be the best course of action in case of emergency...
When I was electric shocked on Eurostar (actually in the Tunnel, I was on French TV) it was the pompiers/sapeurs that attended me at Lille station.
 
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