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Senile member, who r u ?
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This has been prepared by one of the Guys (Usil) on the BCFr forum, some useful tips and perhaps we should put it one the web site, whaddya fink ?

Driving in Paris:

Driving in Paris requires you to be prepared for the typical French style of driving where unwritten rules exist and if you do not follow them - instantly - you can find yourself the cause and possibly the object of dangerous circumstances.

Unwritten rules...

1. If there is a space - fill it. When driving on the streets, lanes are mere suggestions and if there is a space available anywhere whether moving on the street or stopping at an intersection, where a car will fit you can rest assured that one will fill that space, even if it is inches from your handlebar. Traffic moves closely together in the city and if you leave any space in an attempt to keep safe distances between you and the next car and that space is anywhere close to a car length long, be prepared for a car from the side or from behind you to whip around to fill that space.

2. When you come to a stop light - when green, move instantly forward without hesitation. Cars are used to this and if you do not do this you can cause an accident because those around you and behind you ARE going to do this.

3. Use your turn signals. Very important to let cars around you know what you are going to do even if obvious.

4. Filtering. Cars in the city expect this from bikes so don't hesitate or think this is not allowed. When coming to a stop at a light, all city Paris bikers filter to the front of the line. And cars let you because they know you are not going to delay their start as they expect you to jump immediately across the intersection at the first sign of green.

5. Lane Sharing. Also expected by cars and performed by all Paris bikers. If you clip a mirror just keep moving on. If you find yourself on the B. Perferique which is the circular bypass that goes all around the outskirts of the city and you lane share do this only in the fast lane and then keep a watchful eye behind you because all Paris bikers are faster at this than you are and you will need to let them pass when they approach you or they will get very irritated.

6. Don't hesitate. In all situations where you need to make a turn, move forward or change lanes as you progress through traffic, signal and move decisively. Any slightest hesitation will cause the car beside you to see the hesitation and move to fill the space you were going to take (see rule 1).

7. Drive like a car. Unfortunately, you have to drive like a car, maintaining your space, creating space and moving into space just like all the cars do. It is expected and any hesitation because you feel the bike is more vulnerable can cause an accident (see rule 1). This means at busy intersections you will find cars inches from your front, your back and at both sides.

Other Considerations...

Parking on the sidewalk - There are bike parking areas on the street but they are usually full. You can go anywhere in the city and when you get there just find a sidewalk that won't be blocked by your bike and park near a wall or fence or near the street curb. Just check out the area where you see all the other bikes are parked and do the same. The key is not to obstruct foot traffic and be out of the way as much as possible.

Bring a bike lock. Bike thefts do occur for the popular bikes so bring a good bike lock to fit to your tire. A fork lock is not to be trusted. Thefts are random so you take your chances without a bike lock.

Round-abouts. Most roundabouts are the typical French type where you give way to traffic already in the circle. However, some are the reverse. The huge roundabout at the Arch de Triumph and the Champs Elysees which has 12 city streets coming together is this type. Traffic inside the circle does not have right away to entering traffic and you must enter with only minimal hesitation as the car behind you will surely do so. And don't forget once you are in that round-about to not forget to give way to each street that has entering traffic.

Rounding the Arch on a bike takes all your senses. Be prepared to move promptly to your exit road and always watch your sides and front as to what others are doing. Crossing lanes at the arch, again, you have to move like a car claiming your space with authority or else the space will quickly disappear if other drivers see any hesitation.

Worst intersections. In the mornings and evenings, traffic in the city is not fun to drive in. People are busy going to or coming from work and they want to do it as fast as they can. Avoid the center of the city at these times if possible.

The worst intersections and area in the city to drive in is the area around the Place de Concord during these times. Traffic lights do not allow for completely clear intersections between cycles and you will find yourself in a tight maze of cars (12 lanes behind you, 12 lanes to your right and 12 lanes facing you) that will take several light changes to move across the intersections. Cars will be very tight around you in every direction and there will be just enough room (inches on all sides) for your bike and no more. Keep your head and move with everybody else and you will make it.

Complex intersections. Many street intersections have multiple lights at various locations within the intersection. So, as you come to a stop don't assume you can make your turn as soon as the light turns green. There may be another light within a few feet of the last one that stops you again as complex traffic patterns work their way through. Any time you find yourself at a point where you no longer can see when your light turns green, just look across the street at the back of the traffic light in the area of the red light and you will see an open cross that will allow you to see when the light is no longer red.

Fuel. Is available in the city. Prices are much cheaper on the N-roads about 10 miles before entering the city so fill up before you enter and save 10 cents a liter.

Construction - is frequent on roads in the city. Always slows traffic to a crawl and forces merging. Lots of brake and clutch work and tires the hands easily. Try to filter where possible and keep ahead of the pack but watch out.

Police actions. Speed traps and police stops are frequent in the city. I saw this when I lived there this summer and it is more so now than when I lived there from 2003 to 2007. Oncoming traffic is good at blinking their lights to warn you but any intersection can have a speed trap so be warned.

Police stops are frequent near round-abouts or near bridges. I assume they are checking papers and identification so make sure you have everything you need when you arrive. I never used to see bikes stopped at these but now I do, right along with the cars. If you have a UK license I would think this increases your chances of being stopped.

Police control of traffic lanes in the city occurs from time to time based on events in the city. Going across the city in the morning can be easy and when you want to return every intersection from one side of the city to the next that you need to cross can be blocked and you must take an incredibly long way around to get through if this occurs. Always have a city map or your GPS.

Knowing your way around the city. It is advantageous to know the main attractions in the city so you always know where you are. Find a city map and get a feel for the various locations. The river divides the city in too and staying near the river provides a good route for travel without getting turned around.
 

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A Scotsman....
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i would guess that late evening arrival would be better for traffic (less trafiic), as i can see anyone being in Paris before 09:30 - 10:00.

Is this Right?????
 

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Our member Usil, who is part of the BCFr TLD admin team wrote the above, he is a texan who is based in Paris in the summer months.

He also made the following comments, in a post following the above, that you might find useful :-

Arriving on a weekend, the traffic is much reduced. Not so bad driving around the town on Saturday and Sunday is pretty light and a good day to travel the city.

It sounds like the writeup I made is risky in Paris but I lived there for 4 years and did not have any problems. But, I was used to the traffic then and did not drop in and just spend one or two days. Leborg spent a day there with me before we headed out on a trip and he thought it was pretty harry so I guess it differs depending on what you are used too. I enjoy the blending of quiet country travel for a week and then coming back to civilization to see a movie and enjoy a good dinner somewhere.

One very important thing in planning for this and I say this to all - spend some time planning for the time you spend in Paris. Get a map and study it. Decide where you want to go and what you want to see before you get here. Don't crowd the day with too much. Something in the morning and get a lunch and then something in the afternoon and dinner. That way it is not too rushed, allows you to see a couple of things and gives you time to tour the city a bit. Paris is a very beautiful city and you can't see it and enjoy it in one or two days. So, make a plan before you get there. It will be much more enjoyable for you if you do - I gurantee it.

Here is an interactive map of Paris:

Paris Map - Attractions

Earth view of city:

Paris Satellite Photo Map

I have already provided a link for hotels in and around Paris.

One additional note on traveling together as a group in the city. This does not work out well because of traffic and lights (even for a couple of bikes unless you are expert in the traffic). Everyone needs to know where they are going to wind up so when you get seperated, you can join back up. Always have a plan.
 

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Senile member, who r u ?
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Discussion Starter #5
Our member Usil, who is part of the BCFr TLD admin team wrote the above, he is a texan who is based in Paris in the summer months.

He also made the following comments, in a post following the above, that you might find useful :-
Thats a bit more of a re-assuring read, chances are most folk wont be arriving in Paris before 21.00 hours on the Saturday, so it looks like we will have the place to ourselves :rolleyes:. Ian what is the general feelings about notifying the local Sheriffs Dept about the incoming 80-100 riders ?
 

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Mark i think to be safe i will put that question to a French, very knowledgeable biker friend, who advises me on French law / requirements, and all things like that .. I'll get back to you on that one asap.
 
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