June 18 France has today seen the largest motorcycle protest ever seen before with almost 100,000 bikers paralysing the whole nation, from north to south and west to east.
A real slap in the face of Claude Guéant, French interior minister, who has been trying to push through a series of ridiculous proposals designed to treat bikers like cash cows when, let’s recognise it, bikers are willing to use a mode of transport that guarantees zero congestion, considerably reduces pollution and offers a more affordable solution to those facing financial difficulties. 100,000 bikers paralysing the whole nation, what a massive humiliation for the French government and its interior minister, Claude Guéant.
Claude Guéant continues to treat motorcycles like cars in France by banning traffic filtering (lane splitting) and forcing all riders to remain stationary in traffic jams, as if they were driving cars. The same Claude Guéant is trying to push through the obligation for all riders to wear a fluorescent yellow high visibility vest without worrying about what they may wear underneath. They may wear absolutely nothing underneath that vest, it doesn’t matter, as long as they wear it, and never mind if they fall off their bike and severely hurt themselves! Claude Guéant is not concerned about safety, after all why would he, as long as he sees the French government cashing in thousands of euros per day from motorcyclists who fail to follow his silly rules, then he’s happy. Not to mention Guéant’s proposal to force all bikers to change their registration plate for a bigger one, as if this had an impact on reducing the number of road accidents involving motorcyclists!
Bikers in France are just fed up with Guéant’s stupid proposals and his “I can’t see you, I can’t hear you” attitude, to the extent that almost 100,000 of them have today standed up against their government and paralysed the whole nation. The Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC – French Federation of Angry Bikers), through its highly efficient network of regional and local offices, organised demonstrations in every single city and town across the country. Each town and city was brought to a complete standstill for hours with the local population being totally unable to move around. Paris alone saw more than 15,000 bikers blocking the heart of the capital, Lyon (France’s second largest city) saw more than 10,000 bikers, Lille (in the north of the country) counted more than 7,000 angry motorcyclists, Toulouse (in the south-west) was totally blocked by 8,000 bikers, Marseille and Bordeaux (in the south-east and south-west respectively) were also paralysed by 3,000 bikers each. Thousands of bikers blocked central France with 3,500 of them in Clermont-Ferrand, the whole of Brittany (in the north-west) with more than 3,000 bikers in Brest, Quimper and Rennes. The east of the country was also brought to a standstill with more than 6,000 bikers protesting in Strasbourg, Mulhouse Reims and Metz. Smaller towns were also the scene of protests with 600 bikers each in Niort and Dijon, 400 in the beautiful and historic town of Carcassonne, 700 in Perpignan, 900 in Poitiers and 500 in Auxerre, to name a few. Not only the bikers protested in mainland France but also in a few of its overseas territories including the island of Reunion (located off Madagascar and Mauritius) with almost 2,000 bikers, the islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe in the Caribbean and also some bikers gathered on the island of New Caledonia (located off Australia and New Zealand).
Despite the pouring rain that fell over most of France today, the 100,000 bikers still went ahead with their protests to express their disgust at Guéant’s proposals. Claude Guéant has so far refused to listen but will he now listen to tens of thousands of bikers who have clearly proved to him that they have the power to bring the whole country to a complete stop? Let’s not forget that France is less than a year away from the next presidential elections, so will Guéant stand on the safe side and finally listen to the bikers if he is not to lose his position in the next government? The FFMC has clearly stated its intention to organise further similar demonstrations in no later than September if Guéant’s proposals are not abandoned immediately.
LET’S ALL GIVE A MASSIVE ROUND OF APPLAUSE TO THE FFMC AND ALL THE BIKERS IN FRANCE FOR THEIR DETERMINATION TO STAND UP AGAINST THEIR GOVERNMENT !