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France: Mandatory High-Visibility Vests Mandatory (Again) For Motorcyclists, With A French Twist

  Posted at 02:00:00 PM
  File under  France Safety
  Author: Mike Werner
  Location: Normandy, France
click to see where France is on the map

To think we pay these people a salary to do whatever they want, including making senseless laws. It's really incredible, but when you start thinking about it when sitting on the toilet, it makes sense. Politicians, like any other "human", needs to make sure they have a job. And one way of keeping your job is to pretend to be very busy. Even if it means making laws that make no sense whatsoever and are a pain to everyone.

So what got my knickers in a twist you may ask yourself? Remember last year we had a lot of problems, protests, political unrest because the government wanted to make high-visibility vests mandatory for all motorcycle riders, including foreign registered ones. Eventually, because of the heavy handed protests here in France, they dropped the idea. Until now... it's back, but with the typical French twist.

The twist is in fact the same as for the mandatory breathalyzers. France had decided that all vehicles (cars & motorcycles) needed to have at least one in-good-working-condition breathalyzer on board. After months of civil unrest bordering a revolution, the government waved a white flag and changed the law. You still need to have a breathalyzer on you (yes, also motorcycles), but if you were caught by cops not having one, you would not get fined. In other words, you don't need one.

Click for bigger version of Motorcycle Protest Rouen 2012
Open image in a new window  .. and now do you see me better?

Well, it's the same for the high-visibility vests. The new law that is being looked at will make it mandatory for bikers to have a high-visibility vest BUT YOU DO NOT NEED TO WEAR IT. You just need to have it somewhere on your bike.

The idea is that you use it if you breakdown alongside the road. Then it will be mandatory to put on the high-viz vest. What will this mean? It means all motorcycle riders, including any foreign visitors, must have on them a high-visibility vest, even if you don't wear it. So if you are riding a sportsbike with no topcase, saddle bags or other storage compartments, you'll need to wear it. Which is really what their idea was in the first place.

Again, with stupid and senseless laws, this one is a beauty. If you get stopped and you don't have one with you, no worries, you'll not get fined. But if you have to stop alongside the road to repair your bike, a flat tire, or if you have an accident and you are not wearing one, you will get fined €35, or at least, that is the proposal.

Don't get me wrong. I think high-viz vests are a good safety feature, but I strongly believe that it's up to each individual to decide, not up to the nanny-state. Me personally, I don't wear one, the color clashes with my beard.

The bureaucrats that have dreamed up these proposed new laws (they are all currently proposals, so don't go out and buy high-visibility vests) also proposed that all vehicles get a black box onboard that registers position, speed, acceleration, etc. Then if you have an accident, the black box will tell the cops who was speeding, etc.

I can only smile at what will happen to the currently very unpopular government if they do adopt this law....
Guillotine Smiley

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