Biker armband law is kicked out

Biker armband plan is thrown out

Valls scraps measure forcing motorcyclists to wear reflective strip

A LAW obliging motorcyclists and scooter riders to wear a reflective armband has been scrapped on the day it came into force - after a year of protests.

A decree forcing bikers on machines of more than 125cc to wear a 150cm3 armband was due to come into force on January 1, 2013. The original plans had been for bikers to wear a reflective and fluorescent waistcoat at all times, but after protests ministers toned down the move.

However, Socialist Interior Minister Manuel Valls wrote off the measure, which motorcycle pressure group Fédération Française des Motards en Colère had described as "absurd" and "useless in improving safety". Valls said he had asked for an inquiry into the usefulness of retro-reflective clothing.

Bikers had organised protests around the country and last March 15,000 bikes took to the streets of Paris. The FFMC said that if drivers could not see a motorbike with rider and, by law, a daytime headlight, then an armband was not going to help.

Although the brassard armband plan has been scrapped it is thought that other measures may be on the way as Valls said that two-wheeler users accounted for 23% of road deaths in 2011.

The minister has also to decide what action to take over the breath-test law, which has been delayed from coming into full force until March 1. Drivers are obliged to carry a breath-test kit in their vehicles at all times but no penalties are being enforced as Valls said there was a shortage of supply.

Consumer group UFC/Que Choisir tested éthylotests and found that one in two was not reliable and gave false readings, including telling a driver he was safe to drive when he was over the limit. The Direction Générale de la Cconcurrence, de la Consommation et de la Répression des Fraudes has already forced the withdrawal of 400,000 faulty kits.

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