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Crit Air Certificates France

Blog Date - 07 March 2018

As previously mentioned in the post The Complexities Of Motoring driving or riding a vehicle can be a complex matter. And France is making it that little bit more complex. Please let me make this clear - I'm not an expert! However from what I understand the notion is that vehicles in France will need to clearly display a sticker that indicates the vehicle's environmental impact. 

An example of the Crit 'Air sticker
Hopefully it's not as big as this...

There is much discussion on forums and Facebook stating that you only need them for certain towns (that will probably change), foreigners don't need them (they do as far as I can tell) and this is all a giant conspiracy against bikers (no, it applies to all vehicles). As stated I'm not an expert so I shall simply refer you to what I hope will be the most reliable source - the French government's own website about Crit' Air. Don't panic this is the English language page.

Crit' Air

Check out the FAQ page, that's where most of the useful information is.

How do I feel about this? As ever I'm on the fence. On the one hand it's another hassle another complication another bloody thing to worry about. On the other hand the environment and the air we breath are important and if this helps France monitor and understand how pollution comes about then fair enough.

There is an argument to be made that it could be unnecessary. In this digital day and age I would presume just like the UK all the vehicle registrations are on a database somewhere. I know that here in the UK an officer of the law can enter my registration and discover the make and model of my vehicle. That could easily be tied to further information regarding its emissions.  

Anyhow, I digress. The point is before you travel to France learn a little about "Crit' Air". Maybe we could get the French and the rest of the world to drive on the correct side of the road? Pfffffft.

A regular road running through a regular french village
Why do they insist on driving on the wrong side of the road?

If you've got any useful information for motorcyclists wishing to travel we love to share it here on Bike And Travels. Contact ren@bikesandtravels.com

Reader's Comments

Garth said :-
At some point the French will put up signs saying vehicles with this sticker can go into town at these time only or maybe not at all.

I reckon its quite harsh. One day they'll do the same in England and some people won't be able to go to some places with their older cars or maybe even older bikes too
7/3//2018 5:29:52 PM UTC
Pocketpete said :-
I'm sure there is a suitable Monty python anti French comment I could make but I will wait till we brexit
7/3//2018 9:07:38 PM UTC
Ian Soady said :-
When you get one, make sure you do so from the site Ren links to, where it will cost you ?4.80. There are other sites which will charge you about ?25.

Like those scam ones that will charge you to get an EHIC card etc.

What Garth says is true - they're getting quite strict. And there are also temporary zones (eg the whole of the Pyrenees-Atlantique) which come into effect at times of high pollution.

All actually very sensible in my view.
8/3//2018 2:06:36 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I was reading a little more after posting this Ian - yes apparently there's websites popping up that will provide you with the Crit' Air stickers - for a small fortune. Where there's a market...

I understand the environmental reasoning but I can't quite see the advantage of a sticker. The actual stickers are quite small. I'm wondering if the idea is to use cameras to monitor the vehicles as they come into and out of an area. If this is the case are the cameras sharp enough to view the stickers? And why not use the registration plate?

I'm not griping - if someone can explain the purpose of the sticker versus using the reg plate then fine. I've not quite worked it out yet that's all.
8/3//2018 5:12:12 PM UTC
Rod said :-
I think the registration will put your vehicle onto the French data base.
I have heard that many foreign registered vehicles do not pay the congestion charge over here as they do not have easy access to foreign data bases, and many French vehicles will not pay parking fines in Germany and vice versa because even these close European countries do not have easy access to each others data.
By applying for the Crit' Air stickers are we making ourselves easier to trace??
Once we have registered we are then on the French data base and we are traceable by our registration number.
Just a thought!
8/3//2018 6:29:35 PM UTC
Ian Soady said :-
But if you don't have a sticker (as my bikes wouldn't) and you stray into a controlled area the fines are pretty steep.

The stickers are supposed to be put in a specific place on a car (bottom right of the screen) but is less specific for bikes.

No idea how effective it will be.....
9/3//2018 10:38:07 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
While the anarchist in me wants to believe this sticker thing is a French government conspiracy to surreptitiously aquire a database of all visitors there's a hole in the theory.

The site I've linked to suggests that once the sticker is purchased and installed on the vehicle then that's it, job done. To get the sticker they will have YOUR details. But what if you sell the bike? There doesn't appear to be a requirement to inform the French authorities.

I remain open minded yet just slightly concerned to see where all this leads.
9/3//2018 11:56:02 AM UTC
Andy Gray said :-
What about the environmental impact of all these plastic stickers? Who is recycling them when they have expired ;)
22/3//2018 9:16:24 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Now there's a thing Andy. The "big thing" at the moment is the amount of plastics mankind is putting into the oceans. What happens if my sticker flies off my 'cycle into the sea?

On a serious note - they don't expire. I've had a look on the FAQ page and if your sticker is lost or damaged you'll have to apply for another new sticker. Otherwise as long as the sticker survives you won't need a replacement.
22/3//2018 10:23:25 AM UTC
Pocketpete said :-
Don't you have to carry a warning triangle. A copy of all your insurance translated into French. A breathaliser kit. And now a badge.

Where will you put the tent......
22/3//2018 3:59:51 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Maybe this is a conspiracy by the French to force us to sleep in posh hotels?
24/3//2018 5:49:08 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Maybe this is a conspiracy by the French to force us to sleep in posh hotels?
24/3//2018 5:49:53 AM UTC
Upt'North said :-
Don't know if you're aware but certain vehicle's are exempt from showing the Crit Air, my 20 year old Pan is apparently too old for the system. So I can ride without but only in the appropriate areas.
Why do the French insist on making life more difficult, especially when the entire population despises rules.
21/9//2018 11:47:48 AM UTC
Borsuk. said :-
Upt'North. The reason they do it is simple. It's because they are French, they despise rules applying to them personally but feel they are a good idea for everyone else.
Hence the way they ignore all the EU rules they don't like.
22/9//2018 4:07:15 AM UTC
Ian Soady said :-
I don't know why people say such daft things. The French are no different to anyone else - other than actually managing to maintain their way of life (at least until recently) and being prepared to fight to keep it rather than just giving in.

Which particular EU rules do you think they ignore?
22/9//2018 11:07:55 AM UTC
Upt'North said :-
I stand by my comment that the French don't seem to keen on following the rule book.
But specifically for motorcycles why in France do I need reflective material on helmet, breathalyser tubes X 2 and reflective vest when I don't just about anywhere else. I'd love to know how many French motorcyclists carry all these. If I dare not too then the Gendarmes would take a very dim view of it.
I'm not anti French, just been there, had a good time, caught up with a couple of great uncles that never came home in 1918 but the rules arecdaft and the French don't follow them.

22/9//2018 8:27:48 PM UTC
Ian Soady said :-
I'd love to see any documented instance of non-French riders being stopped. It just doesn't happen.

And as for the French ignoring rules - how many UK drivers / riders obey speed linits when they think they're not being watched? How many people do you see using mobile phones? It's not a French thing it's just what people anywhere think they can get away with.

Of course there are daft rules but they are found everywhere. It never fails to amaze me how ready people are to slag off folk from other countries / cultures rather than just accepting we're all different. Chacun a son gout as one might say.
25/9//2018 9:56:38 AM UTC

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