Published by Lyn on 28 July 2015
Charlotte emailed to ask if it was legal to ride a Surrey bike in France. Here's an edited version of our correspondence.
I hope you don't mind me contacting you, I need a little advice and a struggling at the moment.
Do you know if it's legal to ride a Surrey bike on the road in France?
Thanks so much in advance for your help.
I wrote back:
This is something I've never been asked before ...
I don't know 100% for sure as the Code de la Route, the French Highway Code, defines bikes as two- and three-wheeled vehicles that are pedal-powered – including electric bikes upto 250 watts that give upto 25km/hr of assistance – in relation to what's permitted on cycle paths and roads.
So as long as it's pedal-powered and not motor assisted (or electric more powerful than the limits outlined above), then I can't see how you'd be in breach of any licensing or insurance rules as these only apply to motorised transport.
Some seaside resorts have trike hire bikes for tourists, so I can't see how this is remarkably different (in the sense of being an unusual bike).
I did ask a representative from the French tourist board for their advice and a spokesperson for the Veloscenic bike route from Mont St Michel to Paris came back with this reply:
"By main roads, you mean roads for cars that may compose a cycle route?
"If yes, I think this is the same answer, horse-drawn carriage can be ridden on main roads. But it may not be appropriate (e.g. crossing a city centre on narrow cycle paths)."
Charlotte, I hope that helps.
However I'm not a legal expert. If you're thinking of visiting with one from the UK, I'd maybe suggest clarifying it with the French embassy in London.