French riders defeat mandatory reflective armbands

MAG Ireland’s sister organisation in France, the FFMC, has informed us that on Tuesday, November 27, Manuel Valls of the National Council for Road Safety (NCRP) announced the suspension of the obligation for motorcyclists to wear the reflective armband.

As of 1st January 2013, riders in France will no longer be forced to wear a reflective armband while riding their bikes. The decision comes on foot of representations by the French Federation of Angry Bikers (FFMC, the French equivalent of MAG) which in turn were preceded by series of demonstrations earlier in the year. Click here for our report.

As we reported (here) last January, the original regulations stipulated 150 square centimetres of retro reflective material (for context, this is roughly the equivalent of a strip 1 foot long by 2 inches high), and this was subsequently changed to the wearing of an armband.

At the time, we described it as:

“… 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.”

Now it appears that common sense has prevailed, and French riders retain the right to use high visibility or retro reflective materials on a case by case basis.

We in MAG Ireland consider this a victory for common sense, and we congratulate our FFMC colleagues for successfully balancing protest and engagement to achieve this outcome.

Developments here in Ireland

The initial results of our own high viz survey in which more than 800 of you took part clearly show that Irish riders are only too well aware of our own vulnerability. Some two thirds of riders were inclined to use high viz in poor weather or in darkness.
Our results can be found here:

When we asked whether you thought high viz should be made compulsory, over 1,000 of you responded and more than 9 out of 10 said no. Here’s how you responded:

Survey result graphic

We asked, Compulsory High Viz – What do you think?
9 out of 10 said “No”.

MAG believes that the right to choose whether & when to wear high viz on your bike should be yours & yours alone. We support those who choose to do so, just as we support those who choose not to. MAG Ireland remains implacably opposed to compulsion. Ours is a simple message, and we say:

Let the rider decide.

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