France sets date for introduction of motorbike roadworthiness tests

They will first be mandatory for older motorbikes, with newer models having longer to comply with the new rules

Motorcyclists will soon have to take their machines for a mandatory roadworthiness test
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Mandatory roadworthiness tests - contrôle technique (CT) in French - for motorcycles will come into force from the beginning of 2024, France’s transport minister Clément Beaune has announced.

They will come into play progressively, with older vehicles (registered before January 2017) taking priority. Newer vehicles could have up until January 2027 before needing to take their first test.

Aspects of the test will cover “all areas of control – safety, air and noise pollution," said France’s transport ministry, but they will be "greatly simplified” compared to current CT tests, with only around a quarter of the number of controls that cars face.

It is unclear how much the tests will cost, but they are expected to come in at around €50.

The government has also announced a ‘conversion bonus’ for motorcyclists who ditch their old bikes in favour of an electric vehicle.

The financial assistance could be worth up to €6,000.

Rocky road to implementation

France is required to introduce roadworthiness tests for two-wheeled vehicles due to overarching EU legislation but has been late - compared with its European counterparts - to implement them.

A decree from the government back in August 2021 said they would be introduced by 2023, but this was repealed in July 2022.

In October of that year, the Conseil d'État, France’s highest administrative court, ruled that the decree must be reinstated, leading to a number of protests in cities across France by motorcyclists.

On June 1, 2023, the court said the government had two months to implement the decree. This prompted the government to announce last weekend that the tests would be phased in from January 2024.

Read also: Bikers protest in France against new two-wheeler contrôle technique

Who is eligible for the test? How does it work?

The test will be mandatory for all two-wheeled vehicles with an engine equal to or greater than 125cc (or cm3 in French).

A consultation lasting until July 22 has been launched by the transport ministry over the implementation of CT tests for “all two-wheeled vehicles”, including less powerful ones, as well as for three-wheeled vehicles.

This is because smaller motorbikes “have a high accident rate and can also be a source of major air and noise pollution in towns,” said the ministry.

Sports motorbikes will not be affected by the rule changes, however, as they are already prohibited to drive on roads like other motorbikes.

On top of this, voiture sans permis (licence-free cars) are also expected to see mandatory CT tests come their way, but the government’s announcement did not specifically mention these vehicles.

The oldest vehicles (those first registered before January 1, 2017) will be the first set of motorbikes needing the test, with newer motorcycles then being progressively tested up until January 2027 to “prevent bottlenecks” at garages, where the tests will be taken.

New motorbikes will only need a CT five years after the vehicle’s first registration; all motorcycles will need a CT test once every three years after their first test.

Read also: Do licence-free cars in France need to pass a roadworthiness test?

Bonus increase for swapping to an electric vehicle

To encourage motorcyclists to switch to a greener vehicle, the government is also upping its ‘prime à la conversion’ – or conversion bonus – for those who exchange their two-wheeler for an electric motorbike.

Previously, the bonus was €1,100, but will now climb up to €6,000 (or up to a maximum of 40% of the price of a new electric vehicle), for modest-income households.

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