Bikers protest in France against new two-wheeler contrôle technique

Thousands have taken part in demonstrations across the country after the Conseil d’État finally ruled that CTs will be needed for motorbikes

A photo of a motorbikes parked in a line
Thousands of motorists protested across the country with their motorbikes
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Thousands of bikers have protested across France against the new contrôle technique (CT) that is set to be required for motorbikes and other two-wheeled vehicles, after months of uncertainty on the issue.

Around 1,400 protesters were counted in Lyon on Saturday, November 26, as were 900 in Toulouse, and 850 in Bordeaux, according to numbers from the city’s respective prefectures.

Et voici quelques photos complémentaires de cet après-midi de mobilisation ️✌ ⤵️

— FFMC 33 (@FFMC33) November 26, 2022

Protests are again taking place today (November 27), including from Avenue Foch in Paris.

Motorbike protest group la Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC) issued the demonstration call and organised the events. It comes a week after 1,500 motorbike riders protested in Montpellier.

Hundreds of protesters also showed up in Lille, Caen, La-Roche-sur-Yon, Rennes, Perpignan, Reims, and Strasbourg. Some drove their motorbikes slowly on local major roads, while others assembled with their bikes in front of the prefectural building, holding placards with slogans including: “No to the contrôle technique”.

Conseil d’État rules on CT for motorbikes

It comes after the Conseil d’État finally ruled that the CT would be required for two-wheeled vehicles with cylinders over 125cm3. It said this would ensure that France complies with a European directive for vehicle safety. The French government had previously said that the CT would not be needed for two-wheeled vehicles.

The CT requirement is set to be formally introduced sometime in 2023. The exact requirements are yet to be confirmed, including how the CTs will be carried out and which garages will be certified to do the checks.

‘CT ineffective for safety’

But the FFMC claims that less than 0.3% of motorbike accidents are due to a mechanical fault.

Philippe Jéhanno, coordinator of the demonstration for the FFMC 35, told the press: "We are here to encourage the government to find alternative solutions to the mandatory CT for two-wheelers. The CT will be ineffective in terms of safety.

“In ten years, the number of two-wheelers has increased by 30% while the death rate has decreased by 19%. We are the good students of road safety.”

He added: "Why pay someone to do a check-up every two years when we do it daily? A motorcyclist before taking the road always goes around and checks the essential safety devices [before going out on their bike]. We learn it when we get our licence.”

A protest coordinator in Rennes said: "For us, this measure is mainly aimed at generating new profits for the big technical control networks. A motorbike CT is useless. Safety is already our permanent concern and we already check our vehicles every day.”

The FFMC says that the CT has been introduced simply due to pressure from “CT lobbies and anti-bike pseudo-ecological associations". It has called on the government to find alternatives instead.

Didier Renoult, spokesperson for the FFMC, said this week: “The minister did not give us any specific dates, but left us little hope given the decision of the Conel d’Etat. But we won’t give up. This measure is useless."

Mr Renoult continued: “This CT makes no sense. What are they going to check? The noise? Safety elements? That's what you learn at your driving test, and something you do every morning before taking your motorcycle out, to avoid killing yourself.

“We are not going to pay €30 to have someone do this every two or four years, it’s absurd!”

The CT for two-wheeled vehicles: A timeline

  • July 2021: European directive imposes a CT on two- and three-wheeled motor vehicles over 125 cm3, in a bid to reduce accidents and pollution
  • August 11, 2021: France publishes a decree introducing, from January 1 2023 (not from January 1, 2022 as set by European law) a requirement for a CT every two years on all two-wheelers, and licence-free cars
  • August 12, 2021: President Macron says that “now is not the time to annoy the French”, and has the decree suspended
  • May 17, 2022: The Conseil d’État issues a ruling in which it considers that a postponement of the CT obligation is "not justified" beyond October 1, 2022
  • July 26, 2022: The government responds by repealing the August 2021 decree, effectively cancelling the CT for two-wheelers. It argues that a clause in European legislation allows it to take alternative measures
  • October 31, 2022: The Conseil d’État challenges this July decree, and says that the cancellation of the CT should only have been done after a public consultation. It says that the measures suggested by the government and motorbike federations as an alternative to the CT “do not comply” with European requirements.

The Conseil added that the measures do not comply either "because they are only at the draft stage, or because they do not make it possible to improve the safety of motorcyclists on the road in a sufficiently effective or significant way”.

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