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Steve Farrell  says:

Hi-vis gear compulsory in France from next year

Motorcyclists in France face compulsory high visibility clothing from next year. The French government is pushing ahead with plans for compulsory hi-vis riding gear despite protests. From January 1 2013, riders of bikes over 125cc will have to wear a reflective item of clothing under the French version of the Highway Code. The reflective area must be on the upper body...

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  • Posted 3 years ago (09 January 2012 09:10)

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Jan 11

Posts: 115

luckyskua says:

Ian is entirely right

The only advice I have is that riders should not wear florescent/reflective yellow. This colour is associated with the police force. If there is one nutty excuse to knock off a rider it is that they may be a police officer. Florescent/reflective orange or red will be quite suitable, and with 150cm2 required then a single arm band will all that's needed.

[This Reply has been modified by the Author]

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Jan 06

Posts: 10

itdcmy says:

If you are against hi-viz...

If you are against wearing hi-viz/retroreflective stuff, you could sign up to the petition on the government website - Number of signatures seems to be growing very fast.


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Aug 02

Posts: 2320

Hedgehog5 says:

Steve Farrell -

"Hi-vis and reflective are not mutually exclusive terms"

OK... all clothing has to be reflective in some sort of way otherwise we wouldn't be able to see it, so yes, you are correct, but I suspect that the product specification will be along the lines of the 3M grey retro-reflective material commonly seen on hi-vis jackets. Fluorescent material (like the jacket in the photo) is no more reflectinve than ordinary clothing* (try shining a torch at it at night) but the suns ultra-violet rays are effected in a different way making it appear to glow.

All-in-all the confusion & obvious contradicitions will make this a pointless piece of legislation.

*unless it is incorporated into a retro reflective design as used in modern Sam Browns.

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Nov 08

Posts: 109

smilo996 says:

High Vis

Having returned to the UK from Scandinavia. They are much more safety conscious than here (in a sensible way). The Police and motorcyclists can use dark visors, why because it stops the sun getting in your eyes and you risking your life. Airport trolleys work by having to pull up the brake bar not the other way round as here. People wait for traffic lights to turn red before crossing roads.However not every member of society has to wear high visibilty clothing precisely because people take care when driving. Here it is like an epidemic.

Cyclists, Traffic Wardens, Builders, Road Workers, Police, Motorcyclists, children at school on ouitings. Teachers, babies prams, Community Police, Firemen, Bus Drivers, Van Drivers, Road Sweepers, Bin Men, even factory machine operators, maintenance people and security staff indoors.

What is going on? Soon anyone outside will have to wear one because it will help reduce road deaths. Has anyone tried to find out if motorcycle deaths would be reduced against the huge cost of arming 100.000's of people with this gear. .As it is most helmets are bright, lights are on etc.

Using this logic it should be compulsory for criminals to wear them so they can be seen on the millions of CCTV cameras in the UK. Whatever happened to a little personal responsibility, care and attention. 

In France how about a high vis burka, that way the Police can spot anyone wearing one illegally more easily. 

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Dec 08

Posts: 13

oceaa says:

US survey shows the effectiveness of helmets has
increased from 29 percent in 1982 through 1987 to 37 percent over the years 1993 through 2002. The
significance of this improvement is that over the same period, helmets have saved the lives of 7,808 riders.
The potential number of lives saved over the period is even higher, at 11,915.

Educating drivers to look and making seeing easier has to be benficial to bike riders the sad fact is that a huge number of motorcyclists are killed each year due to inadequate performance by car drivers. Making yourself more visible is the secondary safety solution the First is making you a better rider with better roadcraft, but it all adds up. The human eye due to its physiological weaknesses has to be trained to see by scanning and this technique is not taught to car drivers.

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Jul 09

Posts: 15

kdt092 says:


smilo996 I couldn't agree more with your comments, good points well presented. Years ago we were all encouraged by the do-gooders to ride with dipped headlights, and the industry followed with the on-off switch deleted so that they were permanently on. Now the EU have made it law for new cars to have these ridiculous LED running lights, so now the biker is lost in a sea of light, just as MAG and all the other sensible organisations predicted. They're just trying to legislate us off the road. Well up yours bloody Frenchies, that's my next European biking tour not in your country. I'll go Hull-Zeebrugge and use the autobahn instead. The beer's better anyway and they don't charge for autobahns. Sign the e-petion aganinst Hi-viz as suggested in previous posts.

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Aug 02

Posts: 553

Steve Farrell

The Helmet law came in in 1973 as you obviously know as you were born then ( sorry for that ) it wasn't particularly important, i just suggested it may have happened before your time so you may not have known how it was accepted.

Going by the bikers i knew then, which as my whole family rode, was most people, there was an initial resistance however a majority understood that a helmet was a genuine safety aid, some just didn't like the fact it was being made law, i:e let the rider decide.

The difference now is a small patch of HiViz and hardly any traffic police would mean that a lot of people would ignore this crazy law and not wear it as the chance of being pulled in for it is minimal.   

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Jun 04

Posts: 9

JonWilmer says:

Hi Vis

Just to clarify what the new French law is about... Hi-Vis is defined on Wikipedia as "a type of personal protective equipment (PPE), [Hi-Vis] is any clothing worn that has highly reflective properties" and "Part of the surface of the garment may have retroreflective stripes" ( The new law requires that rider and passenger must wear at least 150 cm sq of retroreflective material. MAG UK have launched a petition, already mentioned below, please sign it and help promote it an any way possible. Thanks. (

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Jan 05

Posts: 162

nigel100 says:

just to clarify a point here

this law has not been passed yet !! it is just a proposal at the moment the proposal has "fallen in the water"  as the french say.

however there is no doubt that the minister involved has gone back to his office to reappraise his proposal and will come out with all guns blazing later this year, however at the moment i repeat, the law has not been passed, i should know as i live in france

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Sep 10

Posts: 1323

SatNavSteve says:

Its a joke that the French are starting with this safety legislation, coz anyone who goes to France will know that French motorcycle police ride around in short-sleeved shirts in summer. Just the job for a good case of gravel rash in the event of an accident! Lets see if they are forced to ride better clothed, but don't hold your breath!

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