Make your GPS legal for France

The big difference between the French and Germans is that the French will pass ridiculous laws and its up to your personal judgement to follo them, or not, while in Germany the law is abide by, no exceptions, full point.

However, law enforcement officers of both countries under strict EU dictatorship react pretty similar, you should not expect the french policeman to allow a casual laissez faire attitude once you are on his radar screen. And he will surely not share a glass of white wine with you before he lets you continue your journey. These times are over!

Riding a motorcycle these days seems to be a very anti-social activity, and politicians of all colours, who never even sat on a motorcycle in their whole life, love to invent legislation to kill any sense of freedom to ride. But fighting laws once they are passed is less productive then fighting them while they are debated in Westminster, Paris or worse, Brussels. So stay informed on all the idiocies our elected politicians come up with and say loudly NO before they hit any parliament’s floor.

But this article is not a rant about what could come, but what unfortunately already is. Here in the UK a lot of Club Night time is spend on trying to understand what the French are up to, with ugly Hi-Vis vest, reflective clothing and mandatory breathalyser at the centre of attention and heated debates.

Here a MAG statement published on my Chapters website:

http://www.hogsbackchapteruk.org/downloads/2012riding_in_france.pdf

On one point I researched a bit more, as one statement is not exactly accurate:

Speed: French police take speeding seriously, apparently a lot of speed camera warning signs have been removed, devices to detect radar are illegal (GPS with speed camera sites loaded on them are okay). Fines are payable on the spot, expect to be arrested and possibly have the vehicle impounded if you can’t pay or the speed was high.

Thanks to our twinned Reims Chapter website, I found that the statement: “GPS with speed camera sites loaded on them are okay” is not exactly accurate. Key is:

The speed camera proximity warning needs to be switched off.

There are even official statements by Garmin and TomTom on this and how to perform the switch off or what to do to be legal. Details (sorry, in French) can be found here:

http://www.garmin.com/fr/100pourcentlegal/
http://fr.support.tomtom.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/5565/?locale=fr_FR

While Garmin advises to disable the proximity warning to be 100% legal, TomTom explains at length how to avoid LIVE updates.

Having myself a Garmin Zumo 660, I did switch off the proximity warning, and as not all of ou may speak or read french, here a short description on How To:

Switch on you ZUMO, and press TOOLS

You want to change the SETTINGS

Note that some screens are longer then the display, press the arrow down to get to more options, and then select Proximity Points

You want to CHANGE proximity alerts

you are nearly done, now uncheck the tickbox for proximity alerts for Safety Cameras

Bon yoyage!

Remember: as everything you read here, this is my very own and personal view and action, and it may be wrong. All you do or don’t do is as usual at your own risk.

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5 Responses to “Make your GPS legal for France”

  1. Really helpful article – thank you

  2. I’ve switched off the speed CAMERA alerts on both of our satnavs, do I need to turn off the audio speed limit alerts also?

  3. I’ll be traveling through France in two weeks time and the last thing I want to do is being stopped and fined. Thanks for the detailed info. Stick to the limit and you have nothing to worry about.

  4. Rodney Gero Says:

    garmin GPS are the best brand of GPS that i have every owned, they last very long.

  5. Gary France Says:

    I cannot make my mind up about this. I drove right across France last week with the speed warnings turned on, which was very helpful. Would I consider turning the warnings off? Probably not. What I wonder is would the French police actually bother to check it if they stopped you? Could that actually check it?

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