Obligatory roadworthy tests begin for motorbikes in France

Protests took place across the country at the weekend - but a survey also shows most users support the change

Older vehicles will need a CT every three years under the new rules

Protests have taken place across France as contrôle technique (CT) tests for two-wheeled vehicles become mandatory, although a new poll shows that most motorbike riders support the change.

CTs (roadworthiness tests) for two-wheeled vehicles - scooters and motorbikes - become obligatory from today (April 15). Older vehicles will need the test every three years.

Read also: How will new contrôle technique tests work for motorbikes in France? 

The decision to introduce CTs for motorbikes has been highly contested in recent years, with the government changing its mind on the rules several times, and appearing to contradict a European directive (which requires the test) at times.

Organiser la Fédération française des motards en colère (FFMC) stated that 10,000 people protested in Paris on Saturday, April 13.

Jean-Marc Belotti from the FFMC said that the measure makes no sense and would not improve safety. 

He told FranceInfo: "When CTs were introduced for cars in 1992, 17% of cars were involved in an accident because of their poor condition. For motorised two-wheelers, that's not the case at all; it's just 0.3%. 

“And these statistics come from an insurance company that specialises in motorised two-wheelers, which has studied 16,000 cases. They found that there were virtually no accidents due to the poor condition of the vehicle.”

One protester agreed that the CT would not improve safety, and that bike users do not need a test to force them to take care of their vehicle.

"Motorcyclists are the first to respect life-or-death safety, since they are the only ones at fault in the event of an accident,” he said. “But spending money on a CT…will be useless and have absolutely no effect on the way I drive and the way I maintain my vehicle, which is, by its very nature, well looked after. 

“I don't understand why something that serves no purpose is being imposed on me."

However, the EU legislation states that CTs will improve safety. France is obliged to apply this directive unless it puts in place a viable, equivalent alternative. Attempts by the government to do this have been judged insufficient by le Conseil d'État.

As a result, CTs will come into force today for the oldest vehicles. However, the FFCM has already said that it will continue protesting until the measure is retracted.

Read also: Contrôle technique for motorbikes in France: Complications emerge 

Support high

Despite the protests, almost two-thirds of motorbike riders in France (73%) support the change, found the latest barometer survey by Assurances de BPCE L’Observatoire*.

The majority of female riders (82%) support it, as do riders aged 35-49 (85%), and riders who live in Paris (85%). 

Opinions are also split depending on how long users have been riding.

  • Five years or less: 78% support 

  • 10 years or more: 38% support

Age is also a factor: Only 44% of people aged 50 or over are in support. 

Among riders of scooters and bikes under 125cm3, support is higher, at 77%. In contrast, riders of larger bikes (larger than 125cm3), support is at 60%.

*Survey carried out online from March 12 to 20, 2024 on a sample of 1,015 people representative of users of motorised two-wheelers (motorbikes or scooters) at least once a month.