FRANCE BANS THE USE OF HEAD/EARPHONES WHILE RIDING A MOTORCYCLE
If you are jumping on your motorcycle and heading off to Dover or Newhaven for a nice holiday in France this summer, make sure that you are aware of the latest French motoring law which came in yesterday on July 1st. It is a ban on wearing earphones/headphones while riding or driving pretty much anything – not sure about horses but anything which doesn't eat hay and has a motor - oh and bicycles are included too.
Keep your mind on your drivin'
This was first posited back in January as part of a series of policies thought up to try to reduce the accident rate on France's roads. The aim is to keep driver's attention on the road with all their senses fully operational and engaged. One in ten deaths on French roads is due to mobile phone use.
But the legislation is not just for mobiles, it it actually illegal to wear any headset which emits sound while riding, whether it is used to listen to music or make or receive phone calls.
This new legislation would mean that car drivers would only now be able to speak on the phone with the phone on loud speaker and listen to music through a speaker not a headset.
Keep you hands on the wheel
The French Interior Ministry explained:
"The aim is to stop drivers from getting isolated from their exterior environments, and from losing their concentration due to the use of headphones,"
While motorists polled in Le Parisien showed that 42 % of respondents didn't understand the need for the ban, Pierre Chasseray, leader of French drivers' organisation 40 Million d'Automobilistes, commented:
"We can't deny that using headphones while driving disturbs the concentration of the driver."
And it isn't just cars and lorries who are banned, it's motorcyclists, scooter riders and cyclists too. If you are thinking of winging it, it's not really worth it as you may get yourself a a €135 (£95) fine if you are caught, and a possible three points on your licence.
Keep your snoopy eyes on the road ahead
In the UK in April the IAM conducted a study of some 2,703 motorists in which they were asked which offences they rated as the worst and mobile phone use while driving was the winner, voted for by 72 per cent of respondents, ahead of drink and drug-driving.
While motorists are divided about this new law, it may actually mean that motorcyclists are safer on the road because drivers have fewer distractions while at the wheel and less reason to say SMIDSY when there is a motorcycle in the vicinity.
What do you think about this law – is it good for motorcyclists or just annoying that you can no longer wear headphones?
*Update (16/09/2015)* To clarify, it is now illegal to use headphones and headsets when motorcycling. Is still legal, however, to use helmet speakers (as long as the helmet has only one speaker) for Bluetooth, or for rider to rider communication etc.
For more information, visit rac.co.uk/driving-abroad/france
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