France: mandatory retro-reflective material

MAG Ireland has learned that the French government recently announced mandatory retro reflective clothing for French riders of all motorcycles and trikes in excess of 125cc from January 1st 2013.

This is a worrying development as the French authorities have decided on a course of action for which there is no evidence of effectiveness, and in the face of some of the largest demonstrations ever seen in Europe by French riders in June and September of 2011.

We understand the regulations stipulate 150 square centimetres of retro reflective material (for context, this is roughly the equivalent of a strip 1 foot long by 2 inches high), although it’s unclear as to what form this will have to take. Most sources appear to suggest that an armband will suffice, although there is no official confirmation of this one way or another. Pillion passengers will also have to comply. The measure is one of a number of proposals aimed at improving road safety which include increased fines and points for a number of road traffic offences such as using a mobile phone while driving as well as a ban on speed trap location warnings of the sort commonly provided by satnav units and smart phones.

FFMC banner

The FFMC Banner

The French equivalent of MAG is the FFMC and we understand that the French riders are far from finished with this issue. In a statement on their web site, FFMC condemned the move saying that the real problem was the lack of observation by drivers, not what motorcyclists wear. Both MAG Ireland and the FFMC are members of FEMA through which we will co-ordinate our efforts on this issue as it progresses. It remains to be seen whether riders from other countries who holiday in France will have to comply, and indeed what the associated costs might be.

For more information, please see the following links;

The text of the regulation (in French):

The FFMC web site (in French):

The FFMC web site in English via Google Translate:

Right to Ride’s very informative piece on this issue: