France will soon require car ads to promote cycling

A new media law is designed to assist with the country’s emission-reduction goals.

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

You’re probably used to seeing health warnings or disclaimers within advertisements for alcohol and cigarettes. Soon the French government will require all car advertising to contain similar disclaimers in an effort to promote alternative transport.

As reported by, from March 1, new French media regulations will require all car advertisements broadcast, printed, or displayed within France to positively promote alternative transport methods such as cycling, walking, carpooling, or public transport.   

These car adverts will soon be required to share messages such as “For short journeys, prefer walking or cycling”, “Think about carpooling”, and “On a daily basis, take public transport”. The placement and specifics of these messages will depend on the form of media in question. 

The new regulations come from the Department of Ecological Transition as part of a wider approach toward reducing the country’s carbon emissions. Private cars are said to be responsible for 15% of the country’s greenhouse gas output, while the country has pledged to end the sale of gas- and diesel-powered cars by 2040. Meanwhile, Paris has already banned the driving of older cars during weekdays

The Minister of Ecological Transition, Barbara Pompili, tweeted about the new regulations, saying “Decarbonizing transport is not just about switching to an electric motor. It also means using, when possible, public transport or cycling.” 

While the sceptic in me feels few people pay attention to these forced disclaimers and messages, I’m also eager to see whether such an initiative assists with positive change. Either way, I won’t be holding my breath for similar laws in the United States of America, the United Kingdom, or Australia.

An American in France

What’s it like to be an American cyclist living in France? Watch to get professional road cyclist Joe Dombrowski’s view.