Useful Information

Useful Information when planning your trip

Bike/Car

- For motorcyclists consider the length of your journey and if your tyres will last the trip out.
- Remember most vehicles require headlight deflectors to be used.
- If your number plate does not have the GB logo built into it you will need a GB sticker.
- At least 1 unused Breathalyser (Available for sale here)

Documentation

- Passport
- Driving Licence
- Insurance (Inform your insurance company where and when you are travelling, some Countries may still 
  require a bail bond)
- European accident statement form (available from your insurers)
- V5 registration document (I carry the original)
- MOT certificate (if relevant)
- If you have hired/borrowed the vehicle you will need a copy of the V5 and a letter from the owner 
  authorising you to use the vehicle abroad.
- Remember the minimum age for riding/driving in France is 18.
- If travelling outside the EU you may need to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP). They are      available,  in person from selected Post Offices 
(click here), or by post from the AA or RAC.

Others

- European breakdown cover
- EHIC (the old E111) recipricol health care (
available free on line here) Please ensure yours is valid for the dates of your trip
- Personal travel insurance.  Check yours covers you to ride a motorcycle and if you carry a pillion
  if they are covered too.
- Mobile phone - check with your airtime provider yours is activated for use abroad
- TURN OFF DATA ROAMING on your mobile as this can run up huge phone bills! Most hotels, B&B's, Cafes
   etc have free WiFi.
- For motorcyclists, Earplugs.  If you don't use them it's a good idea to start soon!

Riding/Driving in France

- Auto-routes (motorways) have service areas every 20kms for fuel, food, etc. DO NOT run out of
  fuel on the auto-route it is an offence and you could be fined
- Dual carriageways have stopping areas called 'Aires' they normally have toilets but little else
- For motorcyclists it is COMPULSORY to ride with your headlight on
- As a rule motorists are far more courteous to motorcyclists and will move over to allow you to pass.
  To acknowledge this, and to thank them, drop your right foot off the footpeg, stretch your leg out then
  back onto the footpeg
- If a French motorcyclist overtakes you he will do this to acknowledge you too.  You will get your own
  technique for doing this!
- When travelling towards each other motorcyclists acknowledge each other by taking their left hand off
  the bars (IF SAFE TO DO SO!) stretching their arm out then back on the bars, no more nodding of heads in
  France!

EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBERS

- Use the orange boxes on the auto-routes (motorways) every 2 kms apart
- From a mobile phone dial 112 and ask for the relevant service SAMU (emergency medical help), Gendarmes (Police) or Pompier (Fire brigade)
- From a landline 15 for SAMU (emergency medical help) 17 for Gendarmes (Police) or 18 for Pompier (Fire)

General

The most important advice is KEEP RIGHT perhaps put some tape round your mirror stalk as a reminder
- Lunchtime is a serious business in France and most shops close between 12pm to 2pm.  That can include
  supermarkets and petrol stations too! Most petrol stations have automated pumps that are easy to use.
- Sundays - filling up with petrol on a Sunday will normally require using the 'automated' fuel pumps that can
  be found at most supermarkets (Auchan, LeClerc, Intermarche, Carrefour, etc). They are very easy to use
  and some will recognise a UK credit card and allow you to choose the language you need. Just follow the 
  instructions and remember that the 'V' button is 'Validate' or OK.  You will need a Chip & Pin card
- Petrol stations on auto-routes (motorways) are not normally closed on Sundays
- Inform your credit card company you are going abroad, some will block transactions if not normally used
  abroad
- Radar detectors are illegal in France and will land you in trouble and a big fine so don't bring them.
- Sat Nav using GPS for fixed camera locations are now illegal to use in France.
- Drink drive limit is 0.5mg/ml so simple thing is DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE. Random breathalyser checks    are carried out in France
- It is a legal requirement, at present, to carry an unused single use breathalyser. Although the fine for not
  carrying one has been removed, so far, you still need to have one with you.
- If you need to use glasses to ride/drive in you must carry a spare pair with you at all times.
- Motorcycle helmets should have reflective stickers on them displayed front, rear and one on each side. This has been the law in France since the 1990's!  You could end up with a €130 fine if you do not have them.
(Available for sale here) 

Speed limits - see the 'road signs' page

Please note it is a legal requirement to carry a warning triangle and a Hi-Viz jacket when driving in France. 
For motorcyclists from January 2016 you MUST carry a Hi-Viz jacket.

From 20th November 2016 riders and pillions MUST wear approved motorcycle gloves or risk a €68 fine

 

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