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France: compulsory reflective clothing suspended

December 2, 2012

Reflective strapGood news for riders in France: the new French Interior Minister, Manuel Valls, has decided to suspend the forthcoming obligation for all riders (whether residents or visitors) to wear at least 150cm2 of reflective clothing between the waist and the shoulders. Bikers who were caught not wearing the appropriate reflective clothing from 1st January 2013 would have been liable to a 68 euros fine payable on the spot and two points taken off their licence.

The battle has been very long for the bikers to achieve such a good result. Despite national demonstrations gathering over 100,000 bikers and bringing the whole country to a complete stop, the previous Interior Minister, Claude Guéant, refused to abandon the proposals. Guéant initially proposed the compulsory wear of reflective jackets and, with the enormous pressure he was put under by thousands of angry bikers who kept blocking the roads all over the country, he decided to back off and restrict the reflective clothing to only 150cm2

Manuel Valls, French Interior Minister

Manuel Valls, French Interior Minister

between the waist and the shoulders. But this was not good enough – the bikers demanded full scrapping of the proposals, which Guéant refused to accept. Manuel Valls (right), Guéant’s successor following the recent elections, seems to be more reasonable and has now accepted to listen to the bikers’ concerns and suspended his predecessor’s proposals. Unfortunately, suspend does not mean scrap – the proposals will be reviewed in detail before Valls may decide to scrap them once for good.

This is one of the most laughable and absurd pieces of legislation we have ever heard of because a) reflective clothing is precisely not reflective during day light, b) it is already compulsory to ride with headlights turned on which makes riders clearly visible and c) those who ride machines of up to 125cc would have been exempt from wearing reflective clothing on the grounds that they don’t ride a powerful enough bike to be considered dangerous on the roads! Let’s not forget that a very large number of motorcyclists who ride a moped or a 125cc bike are precisely those who don’t hold a full motorcycle licence and have only attended at the very most a one-off 7 hour training course all together. But, as usual, bikers who ride larger machines are always the ones who cause most concern to the government because they have been much better trained than every other biker!

Whilst it makes perfect sense to educate bikers to be more visible on the roads to minimise the risk of collisions resulting from car drivers not seeing them, it also makes sense to educate car drivers, including taxi drivers, to share the roads with bikers and make them realise that they don’t own the roads. Why are car drivers not forced to apply a yellow sticker at the back (and front) of their vehicle to make it more visible? Why are riders and drivers not treated equally on the roads and, more importantly, why are bikers being constantly treated as irresponsible and rogue citizens? Statistics show that the vast majority of road accidents involving motorcyclists are caused by car drivers not paying attention to what’s around them, including the presence of bikers. So instead of imposing radical and useless measures on the bikers and treat them like children, governments had better address road related issues by implementing training and safety awareness sessions for all, not always and constantly victimise the bikers.

Whilst bikers in France are delighted to hear the good news, the battle is not yet totally over. Manuel Valls has yet to review and consider his predecessor’s proposals in detail before he makes his final decision, which will hopefully be the full scrapping of these proposals. Meanwhile, the French Federation of Angry Bikers – FFMC (Fédération Française des Motards en Colère) continues to put the government under pressure to achieve the desired full scrapping of the proposals. Bikers prefer to be given the option of wearing reflective clothing and not be told to do so.

For those of you who understand French, here is a short video of Manuel Valls announcing the suspension of compulsory reflective clothing pending full critical review of the proposals and France Wolf of the FFMC who expresses her gratitude for Valls’s latest decision.

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If you’re based in France and want to take part in the fight against the Government’s proposed introduction of a compulsory annual environmental and road safety test for motorcycles and their continued policy to ban motorcyclists from filtering through traffic, then contact the Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC – French Federation of Angry Bikers).

Si vous habitez en France et souhaitez participer aux manifestations contre la proposition du gouvernement d’introduire un controle technique pour les 2 roues motorises ansi que de continuer a empecher la circulation inter files pour les motocyclistes dans les embouteillages, contactez la Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC).

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Please join and support the campaign to stop Westminster Council from stealth taxing motorcyclists to park before their scheme spreads all over the UK and the rest of Europe. For further details, visit http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

Rejoignez le groupe de manifestants contre le stationnement payant des motocyclistes a Westminster avant que cela ne se propage dans le reste du Royaume-Uni et l’Union Europeenne. Pour plus d’informations, consultez http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

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If you have a story you would like to see published on UK France bikers.com, please contact us here.

Si vous avez une experience a partager et que vous souhaiteriez voir publiee sur UK France bikers.com, n’hesitez pas a nous contacter en cliquant ici.

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One Comment
  1. Andi MacSporran permalink

    EXCELLENT RESULT – I can now continue to travel to France

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