France bans earphones on motorcyclists

Earmold earphones arc

Motorcyclists applaud any move that makes drivers more attentive but now the French are banning earphones for all motorists, including motorcycle and scooter riders.

The ban is intended to also stop drivers from using earphones with a microphone to make and receive phone calls while driving, although they can still use a hands-free Bluetooth set-up.

While there is no ban on motorcycle helmet Bluetooth headsets, riders will also not be able to wear earphones.

They have also banned motorcyclists from jamming their phone between their head and helmet.

Vertix Raptor-i Bluetooth headset controllers
Bluetooth units

Those caught with earphones or a phone in their helmet risk fines of almost $200 and losing three license points which is the same as operating a telephone or not wearing a seat belt.

France has recently also required motorcycle riders to carry a hi-vis vest with them at all times, in case of breakdown.

Pierre Chasseray, who heads the French drivers’ organisation 40 Million d’Automobilistes has blasted France’s culture of resorting to “banning everything” but says the measure itself is actually worthwhile.

“In France we ban everything. Drivers are sick of it. But the culture here is that only strict measures will work to bring down the number of accidents, whereas in the UK they focus on changing the behaviour of the driver.

“In Britain they have scrapped hundreds of speed cameras whereas in France the number is going up. We don’t look into educating and training drivers enough, we just ban things.”

While the French are cracking down on all motorists in an attempt it reduce the road toll, are they perhaps going a little too far, or are there too many hi-tech distractions while driving or riding?

Pedestrian wearing headphones earphones
Pedestrian wearing headphones

And if it’s considered a safety issue, then shouldn’t the ban also extend to pedestrians? How many riders have had a pedestrian step out in front of them because they couldn’t hear their motorcycle?

3 Comments

  1. I too avoid distractions like satnav on my bike or phone etc when on my bike. Yes, for reasons of safety but also because motorcycling to me is about freedom from everyday annoyances. I don’t want phone calls or nagging directions.
    I love visiting France by bike, car and train, however, I dislike the French approach of banning things therefore my last six visits to Europe have avoided France. I estimate that the French economy has lost around 2500 Euro from me alone. My thinking is that we all have a choice where we spend our money and if the French don’t want it there are plenty others that do!

  2. “are there too many hi-tech distractions while driving or riding?” There are way too many and most of it is in the car, not on the bike.

    Just this morning as I was driving to work some idiot almost changed lanes and hit me because he was changing something on his dashboard. When I’m riding I don’t have any distractions and even when I’m listening to music I’m still more focused on the road than on the music.

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