After watching half of the coverage of this year’s Tour de France, I’m very impressed with the way the race’s police escort has worked. From the hundreds of vehicles attached to the 200 or so riders, the blue Yamaha FJR 1300’s of the Gendarmerie nationale are almost invisible. You can see daily some of the dangerous moves that the many team cars, photo, TV and race referees motorcycles pull, often coming very close to the riders and the public.
Yet the gendarmes from the motorcycle squadron of the elite Garde républicaine unit of the Gendarmerie nationale seem to seamlessly glide through all the traffic and keep the road relatively safe for the riders. It isn’t perfect or easy, considering how the madmen French fans behave on the course. Some of them should be arrested. They say the rabid French fan is an integral part of the Tour de France... It certainly makes it interesting for the riders and the hard working motorcycle policemen.
And hard they work, blowing their whistles often. Check out the link below with a French motorcycle cop working on an escort in
. You don’t see things like that here in TO. Our cops don’t seem to carry whistles any more and I often see them having a tough time controlling traffic at accident scenes and during escort work. We train them well for minor traffic enforcement as tax collectors, yet don’t teach them basic police work. Paris
Their motorcycles certainly don’t make it any easier. Would you want to escort the Tour de France on a big, heavy and hot Harley-Davidson? I wouldn’t think so…
You Tube: French motorcycle policeman at work