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If you're planning on going on a family holiday to France this year, and thinking of riding bikes whilst you're there, make note of a new law that comes into effect from 22nd March this year.
All children aged under 12, whether riding their own bike, or being transported on an adults bike, must wear a cycle helmet. This will apply to French residents and visitors, including tourists.
Fines for non-compliance with the new cycle helmet law are €135, which is just over £115, (although this may be reduced to €90 if you pay within a quick timeframe). The fines will be levied on the adult accompanying or carrying a child on their bike, when the child is not wearing a cycle helmet.
The new law is designed to prevent head and facial injuries to children.
The legislation doesn't make reference to whether this only applies to cycling on road, or also for children who are riding their bikes at parks, campsites etc.
A copy of the Google translate of the legislation is copied below, or you can read the original in French.
Decree No. 2016-1800 of 21 December 2016 on the obligation to wear helmets for drivers and passengers under the age of twelve years
Concerned public: cycling drivers, traffic police authorities, companies involved in the supply of helmets.
Subject: Obligation to wear helmets for drivers and passengers in transit who are under twelve years of age.
Entry into force: The provisions of Article 1 shall enter into force three months after the publication of the decree provided for in IV of Article R. 431-1-3 of the Highway Code.
Notice: In order to limit severe head and face injuries, this Decree provides for the obligation for drivers and cycle passengers under the age of twelve to wear an attached helmet in compliance with the personal protective equipment. Compliance with this obligation may be controlled by the police. Adults transporting or accompanying children may be penalized, in case of non-wearing of helmets by the latter, by a fine provided for contraventions of the fourth class.
References: the decree can be consulted on the Legifrance website (http://www.legifrance.gouv.fr).
The Prime Minister,
On the report of the Minister of the Interior,
Having regard to the Criminal Code, in particular Article R. 610-1;
Having regard to the Highway Code, in particular Article R. 311-1 thereof;
Having regard to the opinion of the Permanent Interdepartmental Road Safety Group of 2 June 2016;
The Council of State (Public Works Section) heard,
Article 1 More about this article ...
After article R. 431-1-2 of the Highway Code, an article R. 431-1-3 is inserted as follows:
"Art. R. 431-1-3. - I. - The driver and passenger of a cycle, if they are under twelve years of age, must wear a helmet that complies with the regulations for personal protective equipment. This helmet must be attached.
II. - If he is at least eighteen years of age, the cycle driver who carries a passenger under the age of twelve years must ensure that the passenger is wearing a helmet under the conditions laid down in I.
Similarly, a person who is at least 18 years of age who accompanies at least one driver under the age of twelve years must ensure, when exercising a de jure or de facto authority over the driver or drivers, That each person is wearing a helmet under the conditions laid down in I.
III. - The contravention of the provisions of II is punishable by the fine provided for contraventions of the fourth class.
IV. - An order of the Minister responsible for road safety shall lay down the characteristics of the helmet referred to in I. '
Article 2 More about this article ...
The provisions of Article 1 shall enter into force three months after the publication of the decree provided for in IV of Article R. 431-1-3 of the Highway Code.
Article 3 More about this article ...
The Minister of Justice and the Minister of the Interior shall be responsible for the execution of this Decree, which shall be published in the Official Gazette of the French Republic.
Dated this 21st day of December 2016.
By the Prime Minister:
The minister of the interior,
Bruno Le Roux
The Keeper of the Seals, Minister of Justice,
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