Legislation

Stop calling them no-licence cars! Now, if you want to drive a Ligier or a Microcar you need... a licence! French regulations meet very strict rules: these are "two-seater vehicles with AM licence". Driving without a licence, in the strict sense of the term, requires a few explanations regarding "AM licence vehicle" legislation.

What is a quadricycle?

In France, quadricycles may be driven from the age of 14. The regulations distinguish between 2 categories of quadricycle:

 

Light quadricycles:

two-seater models, whose unladen weight is limited to 350 kg in accordance with the applicable regulations, equipped with a 6 kW engine with a maximum speed of 45 kph. As of January 2013, the licence required for a light quadricycle is the AM licence. Light quadricycles are classed under the same category as mopeds, and may be driven with or without a light quadricycle AM licence, depending on the age of the driver.

Individuals born before 1 January 1988 may drive a light quadricycle with no special formalities, whether they have a driving licence or not.

Individuals born after 1 January 1988 must have an AM driving licence.



Heavy quadricycles

4-seater models that can reach a maximum power of around 20 hp (15kW) with no maximum speed (generally 90 kph). Less than 2000 of these types of vehicles are driven per year in France. To drive one, a B1 licence is mandatory.

AM Licence

Driving without a licence is possible, however is it mandatory for anyone born after 1 January 1988 to have an AM driving licence. Individuals may obtain an AM licence after they have fulfilled the following conditions:

  • Theory component: The AM licence is essentially the practical component for young people who have obtained their road safety education certificate (ASSR) - either level 1 in 5ème (year 8), or level 2 in 3ème (year 10), or their road safety certificate (ASR) if they have already left school.
  • Practical training: 7 hours of training on a light quadricycle (does not include a driving test), including:
    • Practical training away from the road: equipment, uses, essential maintenance and safety checks, vehicle control (duration: 2 hours)
    • Practical on-road training (duration: 4 hours)
    • Awareness of specific risks related to driving: required behaviour, speed and consequences (duration: 1 hour)

Freedom in good company

An AM licence vehicle is a two-seater vehicle with space for a single passenger.

Transporting a child younger than ten on the front seat of a motor vehicle is prohibited, apart from in the following cases:

If the child is facing backwards in a certified restraint system specially designed to be fitted in the front of a vehicle;

If the vehicle does not have a back seat, which is the case for all AM licence vehicles, or if the back seat does not have any seat belts.

Seat belts

It is compulsory to wear seat belts.

When travelling, all motor vehicle drivers or passengers must wear an approved seat belt if their seat has one. Each seat that has a seat belt may only be occupied by one person.

Motorways and dual carriageways prohibited!

AM licence vehicles are prohibited from travelling on motorways, dual carriageways or express ways (article R 421-2 of the highway code).

In principle, these are roads with two lanes in each direction, separated by a central reservation and with access via interchanges.

However, their status is determined by the authorities and has no technical characteristics. This status may be granted to all or part of national or departmental roads or to certain ring roads in urban and peri-urban areas. They are indicated to drivers by a blue panel with a white outline and a white car.

If the driver of the light quadricycle is using a satellite navigation system, they must pay close attention to these restrictions, which are not taken into account by their device.

In addition, all travel and parking limitations and restrictions that apply to two or four-wheel engine-powered vehicles also apply to light quadricycles and light quadricycle drivers must therefore be aware of them.

Driving on roads on which engine-powered quadricycles are not permitted (motorways, dual carriageways and express ways) is punishable by a fifth-class fine. (1,500 euros). Confiscation, immobilisation or impounding may be imposed in accordance with the conditions provided for in Articles L. 325-1 to L. 325-9.

Insurance required

As engine-powered land vehicles, all AM licence vehicles must be covered by third-party liability insurance (Article L. 211-1 and L. 211-2 of the French Insurance Code).

Alcohol forbidden whilst driving

The law of 12 June 2003 on the reinforcement of the repression of road violence states that a driving ban imposed by a court of law can be applied to any kind of vehicle (including AM licence cars).

A criminal court may therefore ban any person convicted of a motoring offence (drink-driving, excessive speeding, etc.) from driving a vehicle of that type.

Reference

French Highway Code: Articles L211-1, R211-1 and R211-2 and R226-1 to R226-4

The decree of 8 November 2012 establishing the conditions for obtaining the road safety certificate corresponding to the AM driving licence category.