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Bikers protest over speed traps

Thousands in demos across France calling for better training, safer roads and fewer restrictive laws

SEVERAL thousands bikers and scooter riders jammed the Place de la Concorde in Paris to protest against increasing restrictions - and calling for "new road safety policies".

Some 14,000 two-wheelers travelled in convoys from the Porte de Montreuil, Porte d'Orléans and the Château de Vincennes to the Place de la Concorde just a day after up to 55,000 took part in separate protests across the country.

The Fédération Française des Motards en Colère said that 70,000 took part in demonstrations in 70 towns.

It wanted to remind presidential candidates that two-wheeler owners made up 3.5 million electors. It was time for new ideas - such as better training for drivers and safer roads - rather than continuing with ever more speed traps.

Paris FFMC spokesman Jean-Marc Belotti said that for the "past five years there has been no road safety education in school, no real thought for vulnerable road users but more and more speed traps, ever increasing legal restrictions, roads that are falling apart, soaring motorway fees..."

And he said all the consultations with interested parties on new safety measures had resulted in nothing more than the "obligation to wear a reflective armband and new ways of losing points from the driving licence".

The FFMC has come up with a five-point plan calling for:

* better training for bikers and drivers and to remind both that advanced training will make for better road users;
* encourage (not force) bikers to wear protective clothing with, for example, reduced VAT;
* develop better safety measures on both bikes and roads;
* provide for a better analysis of the real causes of road accidents;
* encourage riders to get high-speed thrills - and learn better control - on race circuits and not on the roads.

Read the FFMC plans, here (in French)

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