Ultra low emissions and motorcycles

motorcycle exhaust

Published on 20 February 2017 by Robert Drane

Ultra-Low Emission Zones are appearing across Europe, threatening older motorcycles in particular. The BMF is acting on that threat on behalf of all riders...


The Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is a Europe-wide phenomenon: London, Paris, Turin are all part of a growing list. The aim is to improve air quality in large cities; the result is to force an increasing number of vehicles off the road, including some of the least polluting and most efficient forms of transport ever devised, motorcycles. The intention appears to be the effective removal of all vehicles older than 2007; either by making their use prohibitively expensive, as in London, or by simply banning them, as in Paris.

The Parisian ULEZ has been particularly harsh; without any consultation, the Mayor of Paris, the socialist Anne Hidalgo, imposed the ZCR [Zone à Circulation Restreinte or Restricted Traffic Zone] with no phased transition period, unlike London. The edict was simple: after a particular date, which has now been postponed as a result of the FFMC’s campaign, all motorcycles registered before June 2000 would be banned from Parisian streets, irrespective of their polluting effect. This means that old diesel cars and small motorcycles capable of 100mpg are treated in exactly the same way.

FFMC van in Paris protest

The FFMC [Fédération Française des Motards en Colère or French Federation of Angry Bikers] is a BMF partner organisation via our membership of FEMA. They have been fighting this battle on behalf of French riders.

The FFMC organised a coordinated protest across France over the weekend of October 1-2. 39 local branches, from Lille to Avignon, held demonstrations.

At the invitation of the Parisian Coordinator Jean Marc Belotti, the BMF’s Chairman Jim Freeman and Political Services Director Anna Zee, in her capacity of FEMA President, joined the main Parisian demonstration on October 2 2016.

Anna Zee BMF at FEMA demonstration ULEZ Paris

The starting point was the Chateau de Vincennes in the east, via the Mayor’s office, to the Eiffel Tower in the west. More than 3,000 riders and 200 cars joined the protest, taking over six hours to reach the Tower.

Ultra low emissions zone demonstration at the Eiffel Tower

The BMF would like to thank Eric Maldiney (FFMC’s delegate to FEMA), Jean Marc Belotti, Phillipe Remi (who acted as Anna’s chauffeur), Thibo (who drove the van that Jim travelled in) and all the other FFMC members Anna and Jim met for showing them how to mount an immaculately organised demonstration.

FFMC motorcycle demonstration, Paris