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The French Motorcycle Gendarme - Their Training

  Posted at 07:00:00 AM
  File under  Uniformed France
  Author: Mike Werner
  Location: Travelling

The French motorcycle Gendarme (the Gendarme is Military, not civil) is a respected Officer of the Law by the French bikers.

First of all, they are all real bikers. They all ride motorcycles privately. Secondly, because they are real bikers, they rarely fine other bikers (unless you're being really stupid, or you caught them on an off day). Thirdly, the training they receive is second to none !! The motorcycle Gendarme knows how to ride a motorcycle, there is little doubt with anyone who has seens them ride !

The Gendarmerie has 6,000 motorcycles in their motorcycle park. The majority of their road motorcycles are BMW R1100 and R1150RT, but they have recently signed a one-year agreement with Yamaha for their XJR1300 motorcycles. They also have Cagiva off road motorcycles.

The Police Officers are all volunteer, and must measure at least 1M70 (Male and Female).

I have no figures how many female Gendarmes there are, but there are not a lot. In fact, I've never seen one....


Before doing the main training, they must submit to a one week intensive training and evaluation, to see of they're apt for their role. This is done in Fontainebleau (close to Paris) in a special training circuit.

Candidates are put through grueling exercises in 11 different specialties. They are evaluated for their dexterity, coordination, balance and road sense.

Typically they will go over fast and slow riding, obstacles, braking, emergency avoidance, etc. excersizes.

Initial Training

The candidates that have been approved in the pre-training selection go on for a 5 week training course in Fontainebleau.

Here they are taught how to master the big cylinder motorcycles under any circumstances.

They are trained both on normal surface and off-road (the Gendarmerie regularly enter their teams in off road events, such as Enduros, and the Dakar and the go very well in these races).

Non-Officer Training

After the 5 weeks, all Gendarmes that are not officers go on for 11 weeks of training in Fontainebleau. Here they are taught more on their speciality requirements, including special applications of the law, road safety, high speed riding, etc.

After this training, they can master their motorcycles in any circumstances. They are able to ride without their hands on their handle bars, while taking corners at high speeds (I've seen them do it... eerie).

Evaluation and Perfectioning

Every five years, all motorcycle cops go for an evaluation and are perfected on the latest developments and motorcycles. This will continue until they reach the age of 50.

They are allowed to continue as motorcycle cop until the age of 55 !

The Republican Garde

The Garde Republicaine are their elite motorcyclists, and are used to escort VIPs (like the President and other heads of state), special events (like the Tour de France) and urgency deliveries such as transporting medical items like life organs.

They also have a motorcycle stunt/display team.

They follow the same training as the Gendarmes, followed by a three month training in Fontainebleau.

Their motorcycles consist mostly of several 100 BMW K1100, 15 BMW R100 and some special bikes like the Suzuki TU250 and a Harley 1500.

Out of the 95 strong Garde Republicaine, there is one female.....

Gendarmerie - Garde Republicaine

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