2 April 2013

Your Europe Advice enquiry 121833

This email was sent to FEMA to see if they can help with the problem we may face on trips to France.  I sent to Philip Vogl  as he was on the website as being the campaigns leader at FEMA, but his email rejects as he no longer works there. So I re-sent it to their main info@ email address.

Dear Philip,
In view of the reports in the UK press that since the rejection by the new French Government for the 150cm2 hi-viz patch for motorcyclists and the failure of the alcotest law, that the French police are now cracking down on riders without the reflective helmet stickers,  I asked the EU's "Your Europe Advice" whether a member state that signed up to ECE 22-05 can impose extra restrictions on citizens of other EU states that also signed up to ECE 22-05.
Their answer, below, isn't too clear, and I feel that maybe FEMA through its contacts within the EU in Brussels can look at getting a definitive answer, and take this up as a campaign.
Maybe riders from other member states can avoid France, but realistically this isn't the case for UK riders heading anywhere in Europe.
My Shoei Qwest was bought recently and complies with ECE 22-05 and meets British and EU law, it doesn't come with four little reflective stickers as they aren't required in the UK and all the other EU member states EXCEPT France.
Paul Devall
Sent from a normal computer using Gmail webmail

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Dear Sir/Madam,

Please find below the reply to your enquiry. Please note that the advice given by Your Europe Advice is an independent advice and cannot be considered to be the opinion of the European Commission, of any other EU institution or its staff nor will this advice be binding upon the European Commission, any other EU or national institution.

Dear Sir,

The mutual recognition principle guarantees free movement of goods and services in the EU Internal Market without the need to harmonise Member States' national legislation. Goods which are lawfully produced in one Member State cannot be banned from sale on the territory of another Member State, even if they are produced to technical or quality specifications different from those applied to its own products. The only exception allowed - overriding general interest such as health, consumer or environment protection - is subject to strict conditions.

So, in principle, you should not encounter any problem if you carry with you evidence that you purchased the helmet in the UK. You may however, in the respect of the proprtionality principle, be asked to add reflective stickers to your helmet, to put it up to French standard.

With our best whishes,

Your Europe Advice

To submit another enquiry, please visit Your Europe Advice, but do not reply to this e-mail.

Your original enquiry was:
When the standard for motorcycle helmets ECE 22-05 was introduced for all EU countries only France took the option to mandate that all helmets sold to French consumers should have four reflective stickers attached tot he outer shell.

No other countries accepted that option.

It is now being published in the motorcycle press in UK and on the internet that the French authorities are stopping and fining riders and their passengers €135 in the absence of thse stickers.

My Shoei Qwest helmet was made for the UK market and complies with ECE 22-05 as mandated in UK law. It does not come with any reflective stickers as required by the French option.

I do not believe that France has the right to impose any fines against citizens of other EU member states on this issue if they are wearing equipment covered by ECE 22-05 in their own country.

I want to check the legality of this.

I have already contacted the riders right organisation, FFMC (
www.ffmc.fr) for advice. 
Paul Devall.

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