Motorcycle riding in Europe: road rules and road signs

European motorcycle touring guide

Looking forward a European motorcycle road trip or planning for one? You might want to take a few notes about road rules and road signs in Europe.

Organising a trip in a different country can sometimes be a little complicated, especially when a few rules change, adding up to cultural change.

Traffic rules in Europe:

1)Legal Requirements for riding in Europe
2)Lane splitting and filtering in Europe
3)Blood Alcohol Content limit in Europe
4)Speed limits in European countries
5)Priority road signs in Europe
6)Warning road signs in Europe
7)Prohibition road signs in Europe
8)Mandatory road signs in Europe
9)Emergency road signs in Europe
10)Ship your own motorcycle to Europe or rent one?


  • A full driving licence
  • A vehicule registration certificate
  • An insurance certificate
  • A European Health Insurance card
  • Your passport
  • Reflective stickers for your helmet in some countries like France

First of all, if you are planning for a motorcycle roadtrip, you need to know that wearing CE (European Certified) gloves and helmet is mandatory.

CE gloves and helmet

Then, in most of European countries you need to keep your right and ride on the right side of the road (except for a few countries like UK, Ireland and Malta).

Lane splitting and filtering is allowed or accepted in most of European countries except in Germany or Switzerland for example! The best thing to do is to analyse your environment to understand the driving culture and get used to it. For example, lane splitting and filtering in France is only allowed in a few counties like “Ile de France” “Bouche du Rhône” or “Rhones-Alpes”.

Blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is lower in Europe than in countries like in North America. Most of the time the limit is at 0.5g/l.


Also, you can’t turn right on red lights unless another sign allows it

red light and orange arrow

2.  What are the speed limits in European countries?

Speed limits: It is known that in Europe and especially in  France there are many speed cameras and they’re not always indicated. This is what some speed cameras look like.

speed camera

FunFact: In France, the highest average of speed camera flashing is of 17 flash per hour…

If you want to avoid any complications and surprises on your nicely organized adventurous  roadtrip there’s a list of European speed limits according to countries:

speed limitsspeed limits 2

3.  What are the road signs in Europe?

Here’s a comparison of different road signs in European countries (Austria, Belgium,  Czech Republic, Denemark, Estionia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary,  Ireland,  Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, even Switzerl and  UK).

Priority signs in Europe, Switzerland, and UK:

priority signs in europe

Warning signs in Europe, Switzerland, and UK:

warning signs

warning signs in europe 2

This one is very important, it includes priority road signs. Be very aware because priority to the right is one common priority in a few European countries and the signs indicating it are not always obvious.

warning signs in europe 3

Warning signs are very usefull especially if you are coming up a little to fast to a very tight corner, if you see a curve or double curve sign, then you know what to do.

warning signs 4

Prohibition signs in Europe, Switzerland, and UK:

prohibition signsprohibition signs 2

prohibition signs

Mandatory signs in Europe, Switzerland, and UK:

Mandatory signs in Europe

Specific regulation signs in Europe, Switzerland, and UK:

specific regulations

Emergency road signs in Europe,Switzerland, and UK:

Let’s hope you will not need this one but its always good to keep informed: For example, chemists are often indicated with a green cross.

emergency road signs europe

If you have an emergency, you can call 112, it is the emergency call number that is common to all European countries, also, it is free to call.


Parking road signs in Europe, Switzerland, and UK:

Parking is  sometimes a very vicious one, especially in big towns and city centers. Sometimes its okay to just leave your bike on the side of the street but in some places, rules are very strict and you don’t want to return to your bike after a nice meal and finding out its not there anymore.

Parking signs


I hope this article will be usefull to you, organizing a motorcycle road trip in a foreign country can be a challenge but it is worth it trust me!

Maybe you are wondering what it costs to ship your own motorcycle in Europe, well you might be happy to know that instead of putting miles on your own bike you can rather rent one in Europe. At Universal Riders, we offer you the possibility to rent a high-end motorcycle in Europe, discover our ideal roadtrip motorcycles on our website. We also propose motorcycle tours in France and Europe!

photo blog

More informations about riding rules in Europe on theses links:

Road signs images source:


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