Brittany Ferries Now Require Helmet, High Vis and Lights

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simonhill
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Brittany Ferries Now Require Helmet, High Vis and Lights

Postby simonhill » 17 Jun 2019, 10:39am

I don't think this has been reported before, apologies if it has been.

On reaching Caen on a cycle from Bordeaux last Saturday, I considered I was near enough to book my return ferry (9hrs hence).

All no problem, did it on my phone, using British website as it is slightly cheaper than the French (Fr) one. (NB the prices do vary from Fr to UK web pages so best to check both.)

I was sent my ticket as a PDF attached to an email. On reading the email, I was surprised to see the conditions copied below. Not sure if the conditions are in the T&Cs, but I was 17 kms from the port with no helmet, no high vis and no lights and had already paid for the ticket. Fortunately no one bothered about it at Ouistreham even though it was almost dark by the time I boarded. I was also told by another passenger that they hadn't bothered about it in Portsmouth on his outbound boarding.

Nonetheless, this could change and could present a problem to cyclists. I could argue not sufficient notice of non legal requirements, but anyone who booked well in advance couldn't use this defence.

Copied from email:

Travelling by bicycle

As you're travelling by bicycle, and given that our ports are busy places during embarkation and disembarkation, we have some extra important safety information for you. Please read these carefully.

Whilst in the port:

• Please ensure you're wearing high-visibility clothing at all times whilst transiting our ports
• Whilst on the move, please ensure you're wearing a helmet
• During the hours of darkness and in poor weather, please switch on all necessary rear and forward lights

Whilst embarking and disembarking the ship

• Please follow the instructions given to you by our port staff and crew
• Please embark and disembark on foot, pushing your bicycle over the ramps and ship's doors - the floor may be slippery with grooves

Bez
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Re: Brittany Ferries Now Require Helmet, High Vis and Lights

Postby Bez » 17 Jun 2019, 11:07am

I've been on the ferries several times (via Portsmouth, St Malo and Ouistreham) since this advice came in and it's not been an issue for me or anyone else either in daylight or at night; and on some trips there have been quite a lot of people cycling. No-one at check-in, on the loading area or on deck has batted an eyelid. As long as you dismount on the loading ramps and on deck it it's all good, though that's not a cast iron guarantee of what might happen in future.

On a tangent, FWIW, I think the French police also said some time ago they weren't going to enforce the law around hi-viz vests, either.

zenitb
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Re: Brittany Ferries Now Require Helmet, High Vis and Lights

Postby zenitb » 17 Jun 2019, 11:37am

I read that for my Plymouth to Roscoff sailing. Given I was leaving at night, and I didnt want to be flattened by a truck I thought it was sensible advice..and I wore my high-viz jacket I use for winter commuting. We queue up in the car lanes after all. Most of the other cyclists had lights and/or some sort of reflective stuff on. I think the ferry coqmpany are saying this to cover themselves.. For the return day arrival people just wore normal stuff..pictured. Its all just common sense I think.
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mjr
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Re: Brittany Ferries Now Require Helmet, High Vis and Lights

Postby mjr » 17 Jun 2019, 11:52am

I don't care how reasonable they're being in practice, please, if you're a Brittany Ferry customer, ask them to remove this nonsense from their terms. They don't insist motorists have hi-vis cars or switch on lights in poor weather.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

skelo
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Re: Brittany Ferries Now Require Helmet, High Vis and Lights

Postby skelo » 17 Jun 2019, 1:27pm

seems like sensible advice. If you don't have a helmet hi-vis gear and lights you are quite used to unnecessary risk, so what's the problem?

Mike Sales
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Re: Brittany Ferries Now Require Helmet, High Vis and Lights

Postby Mike Sales » 17 Jun 2019, 1:31pm

skelo wrote:seems like sensible advice. If you don't have a helmet hi-vis gear and lights you are quite used to unnecessary risk, so what's the problem?



Shouldn't you wear a lifejacket with hood and light too? The ferry might sink.

bretonbikes
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Re: Brittany Ferries Now Require Helmet, High Vis and Lights

Postby bretonbikes » 17 Jun 2019, 2:31pm

Mike Sales wrote:
skelo wrote:seems like sensible advice. If you don't have a helmet hi-vis gear and lights you are quite used to unnecessary risk, so what's the problem?



Shouldn't you wear a lifejacket with hood and light too? The ferry might sink.


And of course a helmet for going up and down the stairs on the boat or in case you fall out of the top bunk (more common than you'd think). Last year 655 people died from falls on steps and stairs compared to 96 cyclists - is BF going to insist all passengers wear a helmet because the boat is full of steep stairs. Absolutely f***ing ridiculous. Plus of course as you are more likely to be killed in a car from head injuries than anything else why don't you have to wear a crash helmet in the car???

I'm an agent for Brittany Ferries and will be passing on this view...
Last edited by bretonbikes on 17 Jun 2019, 2:41pm, edited 1 time in total.

Mike Sales
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Re: Brittany Ferries Now Require Helmet, High Vis and Lights

Postby Mike Sales » 17 Jun 2019, 2:34pm

bretonbikes wrote:
Mike Sales wrote:
skelo wrote:seems like sensible advice. If you don't have a helmet hi-vis gear and lights you are quite used to unnecessary risk, so what's the problem?



Shouldn't you wear a lifejacket with hood and light too? The ferry might sink.


And of course a helmet for going up and down the stairs on the boat or in case you fall out of the top bunk (more common than you'd think)... Absolutely f***ing ridiculous. Plus of course as you are more likely to be killed in a car from head injuries than anything else why don't you have to wear a crash helmet in the car???

I'm an agent for Brittany Ferries and will be passing on this view...


It can get rather rough out there in the sea.

bretonbikes
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Re: Brittany Ferries Now Require Helmet, High Vis and Lights

Postby bretonbikes » 17 Jun 2019, 2:43pm

skelo wrote:seems like sensible advice. If you don't have a helmet hi-vis gear and lights you are quite used to unnecessary risk, so what's the problem?


Going on a cycling holiday is an unnecessary risk...

bretonbikes
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Re: Brittany Ferries Now Require Helmet, High Vis and Lights

Postby bretonbikes » 17 Jun 2019, 2:49pm

Just to clarify

I know for a fact that people have been killed on BF boats by falling down stairs and dying from head injuries. No cyclist has died on any BF boat because of a lack of a helmet.

If you choose to walk around a ferry without a helmet then you do so at your own risk...

https://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/ ... erry-fall/

HobbesOnTour
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Re: Brittany Ferries Now Require Helmet, High Vis and Lights

Postby HobbesOnTour » 17 Jun 2019, 3:19pm

In fairness, looking at the quoted text above, it refers to lights, Hi-Viz and a helmet "while transiting the port".
The only other safety info is to follow instructions of staff and walk the bike on and off. (Of course, there may be other instructions not quoted by the OP). Following staff instructions and walking the bike makes perfect sense to me.

It's possible the helmet/HiViz/Light is a rule of the Port operator. Whatever your thoughts on HiViz & Helmets they ar entitled to make their own rules. And sorry, but anybody heading abroad without working lights is not going to win any awards for most responsible cyclist.

I'd happily join a campaign to email the ferry company/port company to voice displeasure at the helmet rule, but I'd struggle to put my name to a complaint against HiViz and would refuse for lights.

As a car driver, when I entered France I had to have a HiViz vest for every person on the car, accessible without getting out of the car and an alcohol breath tester. Them's the rules.

Without opening up a whole helmet/HiViz fight, when someone suggests wearing one I believe a confrontational answer is not very helpful to getting them to reconsider their (on first glance appropriate) view. In fact, it tends to harden attitudes and in the long term is counter-productive in my opinion.

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robgul
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Re: Brittany Ferries Now Require Helmet, High Vis and Lights

Postby robgul » 17 Jun 2019, 4:25pm

We crossed Portsmouth-Caen on 4 June and returned on 14 June on the late-night/overnight ferries with bikes ... no issues at all.

Yes they ask you to walk up/down the ramps and that makes absolute sense - and especially on the ship's ramps and decks which can be very slippery - they are just steel sheets and have minimal grip with rubber tyres! (Walking in cleated cycling shoes is sometimes tricky too)

The key word in the original post is "Please .... " - being a request, not an order - nowhere does it say that it's obligatory for hi-viz, helmets and lights - so looks like another mountain being made out of a mole-hill post :?:

For motorcycles it does say you must wear a helmet but that's the law - ditto car seatbelts, but that seems to be ignored.

Rob

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Re: Brittany Ferries Now Require Helmet, High Vis and Lights

Postby bretonbikes » 17 Jun 2019, 5:31pm

You have to be VERY careful about this sort of thing.

If you had an accident and were seriously injured - perhaps by the transfer bus - and you weren't wearing a helmet although you were told (I don't think 'please' removes the implied obligation one iota) - BF would have a very strong case for making you partially responsible.

I have contacted the BF office and they have told me that they 'know nothing about it' so this is quite possibly a case of someone writing some minor advice above the heads of the company. However if so the legal implications still stand.

I will let you know how this develops with BF

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Re: Brittany Ferries Now Require Helmet, High Vis and Lights

Postby bretonbikes » 17 Jun 2019, 5:34pm

HobbesOnTour wrote:In fairness, looking at the quoted text above, it refers to lights, Hi-Viz and a helmet "while transiting the port".
The only other safety info is to follow instructions of staff and walk the bike on and off. (Of course, there may be other instructions not quoted by the OP). Following staff instructions and walking the bike makes perfect sense to me.

It's possible the helmet/HiViz/Light is a rule of the Port operator. Whatever your thoughts on HiViz & Helmets they ar entitled to make their own rules. And sorry, but anybody heading abroad without working lights is not going to win any awards for most responsible cyclist.

I'd happily join a campaign to email the ferry company/port company to voice displeasure at the helmet rule, but I'd struggle to put my name to a complaint against HiViz and would refuse for lights.

As a car driver, when I entered France I had to have a HiViz vest for every person on the car, accessible without getting out of the car and an alcohol breath tester. Them's the rules.

Without opening up a whole helmet/HiViz fight, when someone suggests wearing one I believe a confrontational answer is not very helpful to getting them to reconsider their (on first glance appropriate) view. In fact, it tends to harden attitudes and in the long term is counter-productive in my opinion.


It is the law in France to have hi-viz in cars - so I have no problem with BF wanting this. It is the law (in certain circumstances) to wear hi viz in France and the law to have working lights. All that I have no problem with (though of course you will not see lights on 95% of French bikes...).

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robgul
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Re: Brittany Ferries Now Require Helmet, High Vis and Lights

Postby robgul » 17 Jun 2019, 5:40pm

bretonbikes wrote:You have to be VERY careful about this sort of thing.

If you had an accident and were seriously injured - perhaps by the transfer bus - and you weren't wearing a helmet although you were told (I don't think 'please' removes the implied obligation one iota) - BF would have a very strong case for making you partially responsible.

I have contacted the BF office and they have told me that they 'know nothing about it' so this is quite possibly a case of someone writing some minor advice above the heads of the company. However if so the legal implications still stand.

I will let you know how this develops with BF



NOT contacting BF may have been the better option to reduce the possible can of worms becoming an issue that then changes the (current) status quo . . .

Rob