La Manif de la FFMC – Paris, 10th October 2015

15.000 bikers for the organisers (the Federation Fran̤aise des Motards en Colere). 6.000 for the Police. I don’t know what is the real number, but we were a lot out there protesting against the most non-justified law ever written. Probably the sun and warm weather helped motivating people to come out and support the cause. Or maybe they would have all been there even under the rain. This happened in several cities across France at the same time and we were present in Paris to support the cause.

What got everyone together? The plan of the city of Paris to block the access to the city for all motorbikes and mopeds built before 2000 (1997 for cars) starting on the 1st July 2016. And then to progressively increase theåÊ”age’ limit, until in 2020 all the vehicles registered before 2015 will be banned from the city. The reason? Pollution. And traffic congestion. In their mind, you are greener if you drive in and out of work a V8 5.3L Hummer from 2015 than a 125 Vespa from 1999. Even thoughåÊthe latter could do 30 km with a liter and the SUV maybe close to a best of 3km/l in the city. Plus the bikes runs with petrol which is by far lessåÊpolluting than diesel. Non sense. Unless you look at it from the economical point of view of pushing people to buy new cars and bikes.

So what happened in Paris? The 15.000 meet up in Vincennes and from there they crossed Paris, blocking first ‘le boulevard peripherique (the ring road around Paris) and then continuing until the town hall. In parallel they also tried all together to take the metro, just to prove what would happen if all the bikers around Paris would start taking it at once.

The protest lasted the entire Saturday afternoon and we all hope it will make the major change idea about this non-sense block the access for the motorbikes. In all the other cities in the world where a congestion charge is applied to access the center the bikes are always dispensed because less polluting and because they don’t cause traffic jam.

Why France is trying to be that original?