Author Topic: Riding in France and Spain, advice required  (Read 425 times)

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Offline crazyhorse

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Riding in France and Spain, advice required
« on: July 28, 2019, 10:22:59 »
Hello

I am off to France and Spain in a few weeks, and as I have not ridden in these countries for four or five years, are there any new rules which apply to us motorcyclists.

Your input will be much appreciated.

Cheers
Crazyhorse

Offline Froglodyte

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Offline BigAldo

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Re: Riding in France and Spain, advice required
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2019, 14:00:45 »
Just back from a 3000 mile trip around France.
The 80KPH limit on roads other than dual carriageways/motorways takes a little adjusting to, but seems to be observed by most drivers. (there's always the exception of course.)
The 50KPH in towns and villages is automatic even if there's no speed limit sign.
Also be aware that in some towns/villages there are 30 KPH areas (19MPH).
The Crit 'Air sticker is only required in some of the large cities including Paris. It was only around £4 so not expensive, even if you don't need it.
The French drivers are generally very polite and often  slow to let bikes pass.

Offline hookie

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Re: Riding in France and Spain, advice required
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2019, 15:44:40 »
Just to make things confusing in the best French tradition, the 80kph speed limit on single lane roads is now under review and departments (really equivalent to Counties in the UK) can decide whether to keep it or go back to the 90kph limit. Some have already reverted and have changed their signs to show 90kph. If you're not sure (I'm not most the time and I live here!) stick to 80kph.
          In the last year or so UK visitors getting flashed by speed cameras in France are now receiving fines through the post once back in the UK. You really shouldn't get flashed as there is always a large sign telling you that there is a camera ahead and then a sign with the speed limit on it.
          The police enforce the drink/driving regulations more here as well. They can just put a road block up then stop and breathalyse everyone. They don't have to have any other reason to stop you. You're most likely to encounter one during the afternoon (after their 2 hour lunch!) or late in the evening. Although you are required to carry a DIY breathalyser, there's no penalty for not doing so. So save your money and don't buy one.
          Regulations were introduced about having reflective stickers on helmets but this has been universally ignored as has been the requirement to wear gloves that have approval certification on them, possibly just a CE mark.
          The "priorite a droite" (drivers having priority coming onto your road from your right) is alive and well still. So if riding on minor and back roads and through villages, keep an eye for junctions on your right. Even if you're on what is effectively the main road and there is a minor road on the right ahead of you, if this road has no white line or stop sign they have right of way and can pull out in front of you expecting you to give way to them. There are also roundabouts where the same applies. If there is no roundabout sign or white lines on the road, traffic entering the roundabout has priority over traffic already going round I.e. you can enter the roundabout without slowing down and traffic on your left has to give way to you! Get your head around that one! There are two of these within a 5km radius of me. Even the French can't cope with them.
          Otherwise that's about it. Have a great and safe time.

Offline Joe Rocket

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Re: Riding in France and Spain, advice required
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2019, 16:34:22 »
Just to add to hookie's roundup you must carry a H I -viz vest and put it on if you're broken down at the road side and pillion too. It carries a fine up to 135€ if you're not wearing one at the scene.

On popular roads for speeding the gendarmes will hide in bushes or roadside ditches (I've seen both) with radar guns but you might not get stopped until entering the next village or town. Also the place name sign entering and leaving towns and villages ARE the start and finish of speed limits. If not stated otherwise it will be 50 kph even if you passed a 70 limit sign 100m earlier. It could be an on the spot fine and they do escort you to a cash machine if you don't have enough on you, especially foreigners!

Offline crazyhorse

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Re: Riding in France and Spain, advice required
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2019, 09:57:36 »
Thanks lads, all the information has been helpful.
Very much appreciated.
Crazyhorse

Offline XTreme

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Re: Riding in France and Spain, advice required
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2019, 21:36:54 »
There's now a lot more speed and observation cameras in Spain than there ever used to be!

They've now cottoned onto the revenue angle.

So much so that I've now had more motoring offences in my 60's than in my teens!

Offline claveman

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Re: Riding in France and Spain, advice required
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2019, 09:59:50 »
If you plan on riding on toll roads in France I would get the smart tag. Spain has them as well but its a different tag. I think the French ones are called Libre-t. No messing about with gloves and fishing for change. Just ride to the barrier and it magically opens!

Offline hookie

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Re: Riding in France and Spain, advice required
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2019, 15:31:17 »
Getting a smart tag is worth looking into if you're going to  use the toll roads (peages). I personally very rarely use them. Never on the bike and very rarely in the car as they're getting very expensive and there are almost always alternative routes that are much better, especially on the bike. Have a look on the UK site that manages them https://www.emovis-tag.co.uk/. If you look at how the tag is used on a bike it appears that you have to hold it up as you approach the barrier, which is marginally better than fumbling around for money in you pocket, but still requires you to take it out and then put it back. Whether you could get away with fixing it to the top of the Vstrom's screen I don't know. Another issue is that the whole system works by identifying what kind of vehicle you are in (or on!) ie. car, van, lorry, motorcycle etc. and charges you accordingly. There have been lots of reports of problems where a mistake is made e.g. you're on your bike and the system thinks you're an HGV and you get over charged. So if you use a tag you won't know until you get home and find that you've been over charged. If you don't have a tag and stop to pay you can check that the system has identified you correctly get it changed if it's made a mistake.
    There is talk of extending the toll road system to many more free motorways here as it's a very nice earner and selling off state managed motorways and then charging to use them is the only way the government stand any chance of enticing potential buyers. All sounds very familiar!

Offline Joe Rocket

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Re: Riding in France and Spain, advice required
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2019, 15:55:42 »
I've only used motorways to munch up a chunk of kilometers getting to somewhere a lot more interesting.

I never used to like GPS but in the last couple of years I've used it for nearly all my new bike rides (and often in the car too). Simply set on 'no motorways' and green/economy/easy it finds the old RN roads which have been superceded by motorways. For example; going up to Bayeux and Caen recently from home it sought out the empty old main road between Rennes and Caen, similarly in the UK the old A11 through Epping. Worth consideration if you don't really mind which roads you take and have enough time.  :icon_wink:

Offline doboy

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Re: Riding in France and Spain, advice required
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2019, 09:01:22 »
make sure when you come to toll booths on the autoroute it says "CLASS 5" that is for bikes.

Offline crazyhorse

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Re: Riding in France and Spain, advice required
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2019, 18:16:43 »
Hello to All

Thanks again for all your comments, and I am much wiser about riding in France than a few weeks ago.
Much appreciated.

Crazyhorse

Offline Nelson

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Re: Riding in France and Spain, advice required
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2019, 11:06:15 »
Thanks all - very useful. I'm off to France at the end of the month for two weeks and the comments have clarified a few issues.
You'll never find yourself flying down the road wishing you were wearing less protective clothing.

Offline crazyhorse

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Re: Riding in France and Spain, advice required
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2019, 19:11:09 »
Hello Nelson

I'll be riding the same bike, colour and all, so if you see a mirror image, it might just be me.

Have fun and be safe.
Crazyhorse

Offline Nelson

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Re: Riding in France and Spain, advice required
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2019, 09:45:07 »
Just part-ex'd my lovely 2012 Bronze beauty for a 2017 yellow XT. 41,000 miles on old one and ran like new, just fancied a change as you do! New one just run in at 4700 miles.
You'll never find yourself flying down the road wishing you were wearing less protective clothing.

Offline crazyhorse

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Re: Riding in France and Spain, advice required
« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2019, 11:57:40 »
Hello Nelson

I am thinking on the same lines to get a L7/L8, but as I am so close to putting the L2 over the 100k miles, I will leave it till next year.

Enjoy the new toy.

Cheers
Crazyhorse

Offline doboy

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Re: Riding in France and Spain, advice required
« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2019, 14:44:24 »
You really do have to watch yourself at these toll booths on  the french Autoroute . I'm in Valence , travelled down on autoroute and "TWICE " they tried to charge me for a car ( class 1 ) I had to press the help button & say that I am class 5 on a moto ...they got back "oh sorry" and changed the price ....I wonder how many poor sods on bikes they have over charged    ###

Offline Wolfgang

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Re: Riding in France and Spain, advice required
« Reply #17 on: August 14, 2019, 19:14:15 »
Aldo,
Your blog's great, looks like you had a great trip.
Great bikes these !

Offline BigAldo

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Re: Riding in France and Spain, advice required
« Reply #18 on: August 14, 2019, 21:43:21 »
Wolfgang,
Thanks. Glad you enjoyed the blog.
It was a great trip but quite tiring if I'm honest. I've never done any long distance, multi day trips before. Apart from the screen incident, the bike was the ideal tool for the job.
3000 miles in three weeks, with no drama.
Pootling along the French back roads at 50 mph, I was averaging around 70 to the gallon!
Aldo