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Updated: France's transport minister clarifies that cyclists WON'T have to carry proof of ownership of bike

Media reports had said that riders would be subject to similar system already in force for motorists

France’s transport minister has clarified that there are no plans to make the country’s cyclists carry proof of ownership of the bicycles they are riding.

Elisabeth Borne was responding to widespread reports in the French media, which we covered here on road.cc yesterday, that a bill due to be presented at the National Assembly later this year would seek to introduce a system similar to the ‘carte grise’ scheme under which owners of motor vehicles are required to have with them a document proving ownership.

Instead she explained that plans are to require new bikes to be security-marked in an effort to combat bike theft.

She said on Twitter: “False! The # PlanVélo will gradually generalise the marking of bicycles (which already exists) when sold by a professional to fight against theft: a simple and effective device. There will obviously not be any "carte grise" and no document to carry on oneself."

We are happy to put the record straight. The text of our article originally published yesterday appears below.

Cyclists in France will be required to carry a document proving that the bike they are riding belongs to them under a proposed law currently going through the country’s parliament.

Due to come into effect in 2020, the planned legislation, ostensibly aimed at combating bike theft, would also require bicycles to have a registration plate attached, reports the magazine Contexte..

The system is similar to the certificat de matriculation – known informally as the carte grise – that all owners of motor vehicles are required to have on them when driving.

Failure to produce the document on demand to a law enforcement officer results in a fine of €135, although at present it is unclear whether that would equally apply to cyclists.

The bill is due to go before the National Assembly, the lower house of France’s parliament by the end of this year.

Under the system, cyclists will have to register their bicycle with the authorities to have a number  assigned to it, with the details held on a national database.

The proposed law also provides that the bike’s registration number must appear in a “legible, irremovable and tamper-proof manner, in a locatable and visible place without manipulation of the bicycle.”

It will be the owner’s responsibility to ensure the law is complied with, and no obligation will be placed on manufacturers to satisfy its requirements.

The system currently in place for motorists is somewhat of a bureaucratic headache, as explained in this article on the English-language website Connexion France, and should a similar regime be introduced for cyclists will be particularly onerous for those with multiple bicycles in the household.

Where bike registration has been introduced elsewhere in the world, the general effect has been to deter people from cycling, and in that light the proposals are at odds with a pledge by France’s prime minister, Edouard Philippe, to treble the levels of everyday cycling in the country by 2024.

> French prime minister pledges to treble levels of everyday cycling

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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