Speeding and parking tickets in Europe

Discussion in 'Europe' started by motion, May 2, 2017.

  1. motion

    motion Been here awhile

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    I've done quite a bit of driving hire cars throughout Europe in the last few years, and it seems that the speeding tickets and parking tickets I'm receiving by mail to my USA address are ramping up. I'm not a very good 'orderly' parker, but am quite respectable about the speed limits. However, it seems that 1 KPH over will still net you a ticket in the mail. :(

    I'm going to be riding my Ireland-registered Africa Twin throughout Europe this year, and am trying to get caught up on the ins and outs of how motorbikes are targeted and ticketed in Europe, particularly Southern Europe. I'll be riding 99% small local roads, so am not worried about the toll road limited.

    Of course, the motorbike only has a rear plate. Do the cameras nab motorbikes for speeding?

    I am thinking of registering my motorbike in the USA and putting a USA plate on it in September. Will that help the situation?

    Regarding parking, here in the USA, we can park a motorbike pretty much anywhere, as long as we aren't blocking pedestrian traffic. In Europe, should I stick to the designated motorbike parking areas on the streets, or are out of the way spots OK?

    In Italy, are motorbikes also prohibited from the city centers at certain hours, like cars?
    #1
  2. jack70

    jack70 Adventurer

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    Hi motion,

    you seem to live in Irland, at least your bike does. So you should know how Europe works. Obey the laws and you won't have any problems. Bikes are not above the law. If your tickets are "ramping up" and you are getting caught in a police control maybe they take your passport or your bike. It depends on the country.
    No one can give you general advise for all of Europe. After 25 years of travelling I can give you just two advises: Do as the locals do and try to learn to read the signs of each country you are travelling. That worked for me, never paid a Euro. Of course i was lucky too...
    And yes, changing the license plate will help for a while.

    regards, Jack

    P.S.: I read a lot of post in that kind and they annoy me. They all sound like: Hey i ride a bike, no rules for me. Later they all cry like a baby: I got caught, damn police.
    If you're not that kind of guy, excuse the rudeness, if yes just pay.
    Last advise: Riding in Italy without an ece-approved helmet makes you a pedestrian. Even an open chin-strap!
    #2
  3. Revontulet

    Revontulet Been here awhile

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    I've never gotten a ticket for parking. As long as you are not blocking something or park in a particularly stupid spot (pedestrian areas and so forth) you shouldn't have a problem. If in doubt ask the locals, they should know.

    Speeding is a different issue. Every country has its own way of dealing with this, and even within a country a lot depends on the officer processing your case. Just last year I paid a ticket for 6kph over in a 100. Got myself a beer and paid the 40 bucks. Then again, I know a police officer who couldn't care less as long as you are not going completely nuts. She says she usually isn't ticketing unless you are 20kph or more over.

    Simply ride and try to stick to the rules. Enjoy your time over here. And if there's a ticket to pay... well, just do it and then go back to enjoying yourself.
    #3
  4. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    Despite what certain Eurosceptics say, the EU is not a single unified monolithic state, road traffic laws are made and enforced in each country as each sees fit. Punishments likewise.
    Some countries have "On The Spot, Pay NOW" sort of enforcement, some are more polite and send you begging letters "Please Pay By The End Of The Month Or We Restrain Your Vehicle".

    Here in UK we used to have a sort of persuasion, give or take a few mph and you got an invite to attend naughty boy class. Cost the same as the fine, but no points or insurance comeback. Now the police do it and 30mph or 50 mph 70mph means that. Within the letter of the law, any fraction over is an offence.
    My house is about 200 yds from the county boundary. Cambridgeshire is shit hot on speeders and is anti cars in general. Has 53 camera sites. And three cameras.
    My county, Norfolk, has a much bigger area, more rural, but less cameras.

    Italy has many rural speed cameras, maybe more in some areas than others. I got flashed a bit going along a road I use occasionally, but before the cameras arrived. Never heard fortunately. But things like that are changing. Your picture on a photo of a speeding bike is taken as a guilty plea - no court, no arguing, no Perry Mason and Dela. You are nicked, caught, convicted and sentenced. So rather than spend time and money sending the police, they send the debt - the no payment of fines - out on consignment to debt collector bounty hunters. All dealt as a civil matter, here at least the onus swings onto you to demonstrate your lack of guilt or you owe, you pay. Internationally, is another jurisdiction.

    Parking bikes is pretty lax in most of Europe. I would not know how to park a bike illegally where I go. But maybe its just growing up with it. Do as everyone else is, with reason. Take care with stripes and lines at the curbside, often trouble. And look for the international No Parking or No Bikes signs.

    My sister lives in Frankfurt, in a park control zone. All around is controlled too. Inhabitants only, I can pay, even if I wanted. So I park in the bays and leave the car for a week or two. Occasionally the traffic guy patrols around and chalks up a tyre - chalk mark still there in a day or two - then they write a ticket and leave it on the car. The ticket says to not contact the police. Wait until I am contacted. Been doing this 30 years and am still waiting.
    Luck of the draw, khama, chutzpah, whatever.
    #4
  5. motion

    motion Been here awhile

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    Thanks for all the replies so far. Very informative and much appreciated.

    Jack, I am not one of those people. I happily pay my fines and count the euros spent as part of the experience! The fines in the EU are much, much lower than what we pay in the USA, and we don't have to deal with hiked insurance rates, so I am happy.

    I live in Montana, and we often drive cars and motorbikes at speeds way over the limit, so going to an area with absolutely zero tolerance is an adjustment, for sure.

    Jack, you mentioned something about the chin strap showing on an ECE helmet. I have a Scorpion ECE approved modular helmet. The lower half pivots upwards. My chin strap would then be visible. Is that a potential problem while riding?
    #5
  6. itinerant wool stash

    itinerant wool stash Been here awhile

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    Its not about whether the chin strap shows. What he means is that in Italy, police can impound your bike for up to 60 days if you ride with a) no helmet, b) a helmet, but one that is not ECE approved, or c) an ECE approved helmet without closing the chin strap.
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  7. user7743

    user7743 Adventurer

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    As has been said... It differs dependent on where you are. France is very keen on speeding, especially near the ports for some strange reason The police even have POS devices, if your unlucky and can't pay for some reason they can impound your vehicle. Netherlands take pictures from the back with fixed speed cameras. Germany takes the pictures from the front.
    Parking, only ever once had an issue. Got a ticket following the locals parking in a pedestrian area with the other bikes. They must sporadically ticket people... Luckily the ticket never made it to my home.
    You get the point.. Without specific countries I guess the advice will be generic.
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  8. Herman1

    Herman1 Been here awhile

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    As said all countries in Europe have their own rules and there are not many reciprocal agreements between enforcement agencies. What can happen though,for example, is you are camera caught at some unacceptable speed over the limit so the fine is generated, you then get stopped a while later by a security check/ road block/ speed trap and when they punch your details into the computer it flags up an offence so they grab you and your bike until you pay. Allegedly a copy drivers license is a handy thing to have at such times as some agencies will just take that until you pay. Do not in Europe attempt a bribe though ( just sayin) as this will really get you in the brown and smelly stuff.
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  9. PeteAndersson

    PeteAndersson Swede

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    Some countries are extremely corrupt, Ukraine and Russia for example. The police might stop you on a made up offense and they expect cash in hand to let you go.
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  10. alicethomas

    alicethomas Been here awhile

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    Traffic control pillars have become common, which take multiple pictures from front to back as you pass by.
    And especially on popular moto roads the police may be present (500m behind the speed trap) and wants to have a talk with the offender.
    #10
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  11. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    ^^^ Thanks, good to know. Not that I would ever speed.
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  12. simonorcal

    simonorcal n00b

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    Get those radar detectors out!
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  13. furbo

    furbo Been here awhile

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    The US plate will be pretty good protection in Italy. That's how I roll for the past 20 yrs. The interior of many Italian cities is controlled - depending on city size - the larger, the more control. Parking is fairly litely enforced. We have alot of traffic camera housings - they're bright orange - hard to miss, but most don't have cameras in them. The police do routine traffic stops, but thats usually more for documentation, insurance, exhaust conformity, etc than speed. They occasionally set up a speed trap. I rec'd a ticket in Feb in Switzerland for....82kph in an 80...really? Get an international driving permit - it's cheap and if you have to surrender a document - very replaceable. Buona Fortuna.
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  14. blahwas

    blahwas flow control

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    There is no such thing as "Euro traffic law" or "Euro traffic police", it really depends on the county you're in.

    Basically, when in Rome, do as the Romans.

    Parking on the curb is tolerated, but don't piss anyone off. Don't park in front of shop windows or in busy spots. If you take the space a car would take and the car would have to pay for it, you probably will have to pay for it too.

    Generally speaking:
    • Northern Europe: Really pricey to get caugt, but very little presence outside the biggest of cities
    • South Europe: Somewhat pricey, zero presence in the countryside, presence in large cities and tourist areas
    • Eastern Europe (West of Russia): Tiny fees, some presence
    • Eastern Europe (Russia, Ukraine, anywhere russian is spoken): Tiny fees, high presence, made up violations to enforce bribes. There is a reason for the popularity of dash cams.
    By country:
    • Germany: 80% Front photos only (from fixed boxes and parked cars), 5% pillars or double photo boxes with front/rear photo, 15% laser with road stop and instant payment, 0.001% video bikes that follow you. Fixed installations are focused on densely populated areas (and use induction, not laser or radar). Laser is used in main roads in the country side or on typically motorcycle hobby racing roads. Backroads are 99.9999% free of surveillance. Fines are ridicolously low by comparision, and <10 km/h over the limit is usually not even enforced.
    • NL: rear photo boxes in urban areas and every 10 km on highways, fines are high, Laser is used in main roads in the country side or on typically motorcycle hobby racing roads.
    • BE: Some photo boxes in urbanized areas, rarely laser on highways, zero presence in the countryside. Fines would be average high.
    • LU: Laser on main roads, fines are normal, otherwise peace of mind.
    • FR: Surveillance greatly increased in the last 20 years and in urban areas. Fines are higher than in Germany, but Surveillance in the Alps is basically zero. Photo traps are announced. Motos are admired by many, and tourists are welcome in many places outside large cities.
    • Spain: "Speed friendly". Some surveillance close to the coast and in large cities, but zero surveillance in rural areas. Fines are higher than in Germany, but motos are universally admired, and tourists are welcome everywhere.
    • Italy: Crazy scooter culture, and thus many laws and hefty fines for two-wheelers. Outside urbanized and tourist areas (lake Garda, anyone?) very little surveillance, bar the photo boxes in the Alps (of which 99% are fake). Fine vary wildly and can be outrageous, but I've never heard of anyone actually having to pay anything. Motos are admired by many, and tourists are welcome in many places outside large cities.
    • Austria makes a living from being a transit country, so be really careful there, especially Oetztal and Brenner Landstra├če. Exception: Toll roads are private roads and not checked by the police. Exception: Autobahn.
    • Slowenia: No presence in the countryside.
    • Denmark: High fines, but zero presence.
    • Norway: Really high fines, but very little presence.
    • Switzerland: Really high fines (up to jailtime), some presence. Beware, or avoid altogether.
    Also, lane splitting is cool mostly anywhere, although not really legal in Germany. Just make sure you won't block the Police / ambulance, so please use common sense.

    Here is a handy PDF chart from 2017 with some fines:
    https://www.adac.de/_mmm/pdf/verkehrssuenden_im_ausland_en_291742.pdf

    While you probably can't bribe anyone, you can still talk. Learn to say "I love this country", "It is so beautiful here", "I am coming back soon with my family" and maybe even the name of a pricey hotel nearby.
    #14
  15. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    I think radar\laser\truvelo etc etc detectors are illegal in quite a few EU countries. I have heard most countries where they are illegal will confiscate them too.
    In France even having the sites of speed cameras on your gps is illegal. But it is OK to have "Safety Zones".

    As of this last weekend, it is alleged that certain EU countries have enacted a reciprocal agreement about the exchange of details and enforcing traffic infringements. One of the proper UK newspapers carried it, and no, it isn't April 1st.
    Anyone care to try it out....

    Some of the parking "fines" on private land for example, overstaying on supermarket carparks are extortionate. They are civil actions rather than a criminal offence involving the police.
    Will certainly be of interest for people who are here for a longer time than just a regular holiday.
    #15
  16. motion

    motion Been here awhile

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    Wow, this is all great information and really appreciated!

    My 1999 Africa Twin does have a Laser Produro exhaust. Will that be a potential issue in any country?
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  17. itinerant wool stash

    itinerant wool stash Been here awhile

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    If it has valid IE tags, registration and isn't obviously too loud, probably not.

    Even if you somehow manage to both attract the attention of Team Blue and have the exhaust tickle their fancy, the Produro should come with a E-certification stamping somewhere on the pipe you can point towards. The stamping indicates approval for road use within the EU and should look like this:
    [​IMG]
    #17
  18. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    The UK has had a similar requirement, BSAU193 should be stamped (or its CE mark equivalent or the OEM manufacturers mark).
    Originally, a stop and search by police, with a negative result, could mean prosecution. This all seems to have been put on the back burner, and after changes to the MOT regulations some time ago, the matter was left to the discretion of the the tester in question.

    Despite having been around since the "bad old days" when the only requirement was to have baffles - tested by the scientific process of seeing if how far it was possible to shove a stick up the pipe.
    I have never known anyone personally who has had an altercation with the blue fuzzies over noise. My own home made guzzi pipes with nothing in, the Contis on the Lavaerda and several 2t's with basically unrestricted expansion chambers. All very childish and antisocial I know, but I did develop a modicum of restraint in built up areas once pressure sensors were fitted to car alarms.

    So an unmarked can is OK. A can marked NOT FOR HIGHWAY USE or TRACK USE ONLY may have difficulties if the police have chased you down, but unless you are so obviously being an antisocial twat, that is unlikely.
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  19. BGil

    BGil Been here awhile

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    In Belgium, it's allowed to park your bike on the sidewalk as long as you leave enough room for the pedestrians.
    Lane splitting is also legal here.

    I'm managing the parking tickets for 8 municipalities in the province of Luxembourg (and soon for 42 out 44 of them) and have never seen one for a motorcycle.
    #19
  20. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    I've lost track... but parking a bike on the pavement most of the time will be illegal here, and in most of the UK it will cause you problems. Maybe not to the OP if he is a foreigner on a foreign registered bike.

    Much bike parking is free, municipal spaces or perhaps easier to find, supermarket carparks, at least where I go, and there are big cast in hoops to lock to, if that is your thing. Google maps usually has parking.
    Mostly putting a bike in a car parking spot is considered bad form.

    Many towns now have park n'ride. Never used one on a bike. St Ives near me has the longest guided busway in the world, into Cambridge, an otherwise shitty place to get into. The entire county of Cambridge is a bit anti motorised transport.
    #20