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Motorcycles in France - statistics & facts

The French mechanical engineer, Louis Guillaume Perraux, was among the first to invent a motorized two-wheeler, making France one of the countries where the pioneering motorcycle models were born. During the first half of the 20th century, the French motorcycle manufacturing industry was flourishing. However, the automotive industry quickly took over, so that today other countries, such as China, have become leaders in the manufacture of motorized two-wheelers. Although motorcycle manufacturing in France is no longer as active as in the past, the motorcycle community has remained significant. The annual number of delivered licenses remained above 100,000 between 2009 and 2019.

Motorcycle fleet

The French motorized two-wheeler fleet is essentially composed of heavy motorcycles. Second-hand vehicles occupy a significant part insofar as the number of registrations of second-hand motorcycles always has remained higher than for new ones. On the other hand, rising concerns regarding the pollution led manufacturers to develop alternative motorizations, such as the electric one. In France, the number of new electric motorized two-wheelers registered continuously rose between 2017 and 2019, before decreasing slightly in 2020, essentially due to the slump generated by the COVID-19 crisis. Nevertheless, this sector could probably recover its growth shortly, as some French motorcyclists tend to have increasingly relevant reasons to purchase an electric vehicle.

Motorcyclist profile

If the share of female motorcyclists has increased between 2009 and 2019, riding a motorized two-wheeler is still a practice favored by men in France. Moreover, most French two-wheeler drivers remained aged between 20 and 30 over the same decade. Apart from riding a motorcycle for pleasure, this means of transportation is particularly appreciated for getting to work quickly, thanks to the ease of traffic and parking. Given that point, it is not surprising that urban areas, with secondary roads, are most frequented by motorcyclists. Motorized two-wheeler drivers are also aware of environmental issues, as some of them do not hesitate to use initiatives, such as eco-driving, to pollute less.

Motorcycle safety

The motorcycle is known as the second most deadly means of transportation after cars in France. Nevertheless, the number of motorcycle fatalities has recorded a downward trend in recent years. These figures resulted from initiatives carried out by the French government to raise awareness among motorcyclists about road dangers and essential protective equipment. The COVID-19 pandemic also supported declining motorcyclist mortality, as travel restrictions led to a reduction of road traffic.
When it comes to thefts or attempted thefts of motorized two-wheelers in France , figures have been decreasing since 2017. This downward trend could partly be supported by new technologies aiming to deter thieves, such as tracking systems.


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