Authorities in Paris are considering whether to ban combustion motorbikes and scooters at night in a bid to reduce noise outside cafe terraces, improve residents’ sleep, and reduce pollution.
The ban would apply between 22:00 and 07:00, seven days a week. Breaching the rule would lead to a fine, in the first instance, of €135.
The only exception would be people who rely on using their motorbike or scooter to travel to and from work and have to travel within these hours.
The proposal comes from Horizons councillor Pierre-Yves Bournazel, and the elected members of the Indépendants et Progressistes group. They presented the proposal to the Paris City Council at the most recent meeting yesterday (February 6).
They asked the Paris Mayor and police prefect to trial the scheme “for a period of one year”, and if it is considered successful, to roll it out permanently.
“Noise is a major scourge,” Mr Bournazel told BFMTV. “Over 80% of Parisians complain about noise every day. And it's true that one combustion scooter alone can wake up several thousand Parisians at night.”
However, Mr Bournazel said that the measure would ideally be accompanied by financial aid for people who rely on a combustion scooter or motorbike, to encourage them to change to an electric, less polluting, quieter version.
"We don't want to single them out or point the finger at them,” he said. “For those who use combustion two-wheelers, we're saying 'We're going to help you financially to buy an electric two-wheeler, or a bicycle or a cargo bike'.”
If it adopts the scheme, Paris would not be the only city to do so; the capital of Spain, Madrid, already has similar rules in place.
‘Horns and sirens’ are noisier
Already, motorbike groups have criticised the suggestion.
Jean-Marc Belotti, coordinator of the Fédération française des motards en colère (FFMC) for Paris and the inner suburbs, has said: “We make noise like other road users but I can tell you that most of the noise [on the roads] is generated by heavy vehicles passing over cobbles, and by horns and sirens.”
It comes after Paris is also set to introduce high parking charges for heavier, larger, and more polluting vehicles, particularly SUVs and 4x4s.
Similarly, in August 2022, the city ended free parking for motorbikes and scooters, and increased street parking fees, which also applied to two-wheelers.
At the time, Mr Belotti at FFCM said: “Logically, in a car parking space, you can fit three to four motorised two-wheel vehicles. So we should have to pay three to four times’ less.”