Recently a lot of foreign publications have been writing about the upcoming law in France, making it mandatory for motorcycle riders to wear hi-visibility (Hi-Viz) vests.
Let's clear up a few things, since I have been getting a lot of emails from mostly English riders, but also some folks living in France.
Last year, the government announced that it was going to make the wearing of Hi-Viz vests mandatory. This meant we would have had to put a yellow or orange (the only colors permitted) vest over our leathers. Maybe nice in the winter, but in the summer, for those that wear meshed vests, or vests with air inlets, it would just mean that we would get boiling hot.
After several protest rides, paralyzing parts of France, the government regained a bit of their senses, and 2 weeks ago announced the new law (R431-1-1 and R431-2-2). It's not good, but better than what they were going to do in the first place.
.. and now do you see me better?
Starting 2013 (so next year), it will be mandatory to have Hi-Viz, reflective, material on your vest. The total size of the reflective material has to be 150 cm2. It does not have to be one piece; it can be several pieces, as long as the sum of the pieces is 150 cm2. So if you wear one or two Hi-Viz armbands, you're fine.
Already, by law, motorcycle helmets in France need to have reflective stickers on the back. These stickers are not part of the 150 cm2 sum.
Who Has To Wear This?
Motorcycles and scooters with more than 125 cc, or more than 15 kW/h power. Also trikes will require to wear them. This means that mopeds (the ones that have a lot of accidents) do NOT have to wear them. Also 125cc vehicles are exempt. Strange but true.
When You Have To Wear Them?
At all times, day, night, summer and winter.
Do Foreigners Need Them?
Pillion MUST wear the same reflective material.
If after January 1st, 2013 you get caught riding your motorcycle without the above reflective material, or if it's smaller than 150cm2, you will get fined €68, and 2 points will be deducted from your license.
So now we see the real reason the government is installing this new law.... money. So maybe one day, we'll all be riding like this: