French motorcycle riders had their day in the news this weekend. Organized by the FFMCFederation Francaise des Motards en Colere - Angry French Biker Association, an association of bikers fighting for the rights of motorcycle riders, a call went out to all bikers to ride in protest parades in some 40 cities throughout France. The main protest reasons are that the government is planning to make illegal to split lanes (currently it's tolerated), but also for better and safer road infrastructure for motorcycles, reduced taxes on security accessories (like helmets), etc.
Many cities within striking distance of Paris had a local assembly point, followed by a ride-out to Paris, where they joined the main protest.
Organized entry into the ring road. © Y.Picard/Motomag.com
Despite the miserable weather, 10,000 bikers went on the Parisian protest ride, first to the Parisian ring-road (the famous and notorious Peripherique). There, all incoming traffic was stopped by the police to let all the bikers in.
1 motorcycle = 1 car spot. © N.Gumel/Motomag.com
The bikers were told to ride 100% legally, in other words, everyone stays in their own lane, respecting the security distance between vehicles.
10,000 Bikers on the Parisian ring-road © AFP Joel Saget
This of course meant that the all traffic suddenly was slowed down on one of Paris main arteries, since having 10,000 bikers on a ring-road, riding like cars, meant that traffic was saturated.
This exercise was to point out to the government that if motorcycles are not allowed to split lanes legally, traffic will come to a standstill in any city in France.
Afterwards, a large number of bikes went and blocked a metro station, since public transport is not a viable solution to the congested traffic problems.
The other cities in France were not spared the wrath of the French bikers:
and many more cities, 40 in total.
- Lille 3,000,
- Bordeaux 2,000,
- Nantes 1,000,
- Orleans 550,
- Royan 1,000,
- Toulouse 1,200,
- Clermont-Ferrand 1,500
Despite what you may think, car drivers support our movement. They know it's in their own interest, and during the protest, many cars applauded the protest!
Now let's hope that all this was not in vain, and that the government finally starts listening. But somehow, I doubt it...