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French motorcyclists: wearing a mask inside a helmet is useless

The French motorcyclists’ organization FFMC wants an exemption for motorcyclists from the obligation to wear a mask, which they say is useless and dangerous.

Since Friday August 28 wearing a mask has become compulsory throughout Paris and in the inner suburbs. Motorcyclists and scooter riders must also comply with this obligation.

Wearing a mask has therefore become compulsory throughout Paris, in Seine-Saint-Denis, in Hauts-de-Seine and in Val-de-Marne for anyone over 11 years old. At the start of the school year this obligation intends to curb the circulation of the coronavirus which started to rise again in France after the summer. Prime Minister Jean Castex said Thursday August 27: “The epidemic is regaining ground, and now is the time to intervene.”

While motorcyclists might have thought they were exempt from this obligation (we all wear helmets and in fact practice social distancing with other users), it is not. It is up to us, and especially to wearers of glasses, to learn how to fight against fogging and, for those who have not opted for the jet helmet, to learn to put a mask under a full face helmet, which is a challenge. Motorcyclists may have to keep their screen raised, but the mouth masked (go figure) to avoid excessive and dangerous formation of fog.

A press release from the police headquarters of August 27 specifies that “the wearing of a mask will be compulsory for all pedestrians circulating in public spaces, users of bicycles, two-wheelers, scooters and other personal mobility devices, motorized or not. Users traveling inside motor vehicles (private cars, vans or professional heavy goods vehicles) will be exempt from this obligation”. Failure to comply with this obligation can be punished with a fine of € 135.

‘The requirement to wear a mask on the motorcyclist is clearly incompatible with the characteristics of a motorcycle helmet’

However, a small adjustment took place by exempting, according to a logic that escapes us, cyclists and joggers from this obligation. Because if it is certain that the practice of the exercise does not mix well with the mask, let us remember this study carried out by Belgian and Dutch engineers in aerodynamics and aerodynamics of the sport to establish the social distancing to be respected with cyclists and joggers. According to the scientists the recommended distance to avoid being hit by the droplets of these athletes is 10 meters for a cyclist (20 meters if he is going fast), and 5 meters for a jogger.

The French motorcyclists’ organization FFMC – a member of FEMA – says: “If the fight against the Covid-19 epidemic requires the adoption of health measures, they must still be adapted and proportional to the objective pursued. In this case, the requirement to wear a mask on the motorcyclist is clearly incompatible with the charateristics of a motorcycle helmet, a helmet fitted with a protective visor which is covered with mist when it is in the closed position. Like cyclists, we therefore ask that this decree does not apply to users of motorized two-wheelers who, while respecting the physical distance to be observed in transport, help to make traffic flow and reduce congestion on public transport.”

Source: FFMC

Translation and editing: Wim Taal

Top photograph courtesy of MotoMag