French minister under fire after motorcade hits pedestrian

French minister under fire after motorcade hits pedestrian

PARIS - Agence France-Presse
French minister under fire after motorcade hits pedestrian

France's Apprenticeships and Training Minister Nadine Morano. REUTERS photo

A French minister came under fire from a road-safety group and on social networks on Wednesday after her police motorcycle escort knocked over a 25-year-old pedestrian.

Nadine Morano, a junior minister for apprenticeships and training, confirmed in a statement that the motorcycle had accidentally struck the man while he was crossing the road in Paris on Friday.

Morano said the convoy "immediately stopped in order to render assistance", that she later visited the man in hospital and that he was recovering.

She denied media reports that the convoy had been taking her home, saying she had been headed to a military airport outside Paris to join an official delegation.

Chantal Perrichon, the head of the League Against Road Violence, accused the minister of putting lives at risk by using a motorcade.

"It is unacceptable to put the lives of pedestrians or motorcyclists in danger for the sake of the trappings of power. The days when lords returning to the manor could clear their subjects from the road are long gone," she said.

The incident drew widespread condemnation on Twitter, where French comedian Stephane Guillon jokingly warned pedestrians: "Danger! Pedestrian friends on Twitter, ask where Morano will be on the road tomorrow and avoid the area!" Morano furiously tweeted back: "Ah, if we could run over your nonsense that would do some good!" She later tweeted again to insist she had been joking and saying she would soon reveal "the real facts" of the accident.