French authorities ban lane splitting | motorcyclists protest in their thousands

Some roads in France trialled lane splitting, but accident numbers for motorcycles and scooters increased over the 5-year test period - so it's now banned.

motocycle protest france

LANE-SPLITTING has never actually been ‘legal’ in France - it’s commonly practised, but not actually legal. They trialled allowing it via a 5-year test period, and unfortunately, the results came back with “disappointing results”. 

The fixed trial ran on roads in Paris, Bordeaux, Marseille & Lyon from February 1st 2016 to 31st January 2021, and over that time accidents increased by 12 percent on these roads. As a result, lane splitting has been outlawed, and French motorcyclists aren’t happy.

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So as of February 1st, riders are not allowed to split-lanes, ride between traffic, or ‘weave’ between cars - the penalty, if you’re caught, is 3 points on your licence and a €130 fine. You could really lose your licence for lane splitting in France now.

Is lane splitting too dangerous?

Over the weekend thousands of French riders joined forces to protest the decision, for obvious reasons, but also to say it imposes on their rights as road users. They have quite the history of protesting against anything they're not happy with.

You can see the argument they’re making from behind-the-desks, they trialled allowing lane splitting over a fairly lengthy 5 years, on a number of different roads - the resulting 12% increase in accidents isn’t something they will necessarily want to “allow”. But at the same time, one of the main benefits of a two-wheeled vehicle in a city is being able to split the traffic in half. 

What do you think of the introduction of this new law? Nanny state gone too far, or can you understand their reasoning? Either way, make sure you’re aware of this change to the rules if you’re travelling abroad on a bike in the future.