What can I do about biker noise outside my French property?

There are several French laws that apply to this kind of behaviour. We explain

15 November 2021

When you are disturbed by riders, the first thing to do is to call the police or gendarmerie, who may be able to visit to see what is happening. Pic: Paul Gueu / Shutterstock

By Liv Rowland

Reader question: What can I do about young motorbikers who ride up and down noisily outside my flat? 

Firstly, the Code de la route article R318-3 says that motor vehicles must not make noise likely to cause disturbance to other road users or those who live nearby. It says the bikes must be equipped with quiet exhausts in good working order.

Possible sanctions include a €135 fine for disturbing noise, the same for modifying the exhaust (or €11 for having an exhaust not meeting correct norms), and potentially immobilisation of the vehicle.

A general rule under the Code pénal (article R623-2) also provides for a €68 fine for making noise that is ‘harmful’ or that happens during the night, plus potential confiscation of the noisy equipment.

Finally, the Code de la route article L236-1 relates to motorbike or scooter riders deliberately riding up and down in a repetitive way that is contrary to “obligations of safety and prudence” and which “compromises the safety of road users or disturbs the peace”. This could include making dangerous manoeuvres such as races, riding on the back wheel, or braking suddenly. In this case, punishments can go up to a year in prison and a €15,000 fine. The vehicle may also be confiscated.

When you are disturbed by riders, the first thing to do is to call the police or gendarmerie, who may be able to visit to see what is happening. Note the time when you called.

If it happens on a regular basis, you could pay a huissier to visit to take official note of it, though there will be a fee of around €200+VAT. You could also ask neighbours to complete witness forms or do a petition in the area.

If you do not know the identity of the people responsible, it is possible to make a complaint contre X to the police (against an unknown person).

You could also inform the mairie, which has responsibilities for the peace and quiet of the commune (L22212-2-2 of the Code général des collectivités territoriales). This could be done by visiting in person, or in writing by registered post with reception slip.

If the situation goes on, you could formally ask the mairie to compensate you for the disturbance to you, naming a figure for the stress and inconvenience it has caused.

If there is no positive response, it is then possible to go to the administrative court, for which it is advisable to use an avocat (lawyer).

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