Have YOU been stopped using YOUR A Frame

Discussion in 'Continental Touring' started by Braunston, Jan 30, 2009.

  1. Braunston

    Braunston Read Only Funster

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    Hi,

    The question below was raised at the tail end of a previous thread and received no replies, I felt it was a very good question and deserves a thread of its own.

    I would also like those of you who do/have tow/ed with an A frame in Europe and who have not been stopped to reply, and perhaps say which countries, as it would be very interesting to run a count along side of those who have been stooped.

    Question
    As a matter of interest who, on MotorhomeFun, has been stopped whilst on the Continent for towing on an A Frame and subsequently fined and told to unhitch

    Please only reply if it has happened to YOU, thanks


     
  2. Tony Hunt

    Tony Hunt Read Only Funster

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    I started the thread last week about my friends Terry & Margaret from Guernsey who were the ones stopped and fined on the spot near Barcelona recently. Since returning, they have left the paperwork regarding their fines with the guys at Car A Tow in Poole who have promised to follow things up for them as its in their interests as well as the suppliers of a lot of the A Frames in use. Margaret & Terry dont have an Internet connection very often and are fulltimers currently travelling in the UK.
    They have stated that theres no way they are going back to spain until things improve. Everything is against the Motorhomer as Scot Jimland also stated in that thread. Prices of food, fuel, lack of aires, shortage of LPG filling stations, etc etc but above all the increase in crimes against tourists will end up killing Spains motorhome tourist trade stone dead.
    All they have going for them during the winter is the sun, period.
     
  3. keith

    keith Funster

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    You asked:
    "I would also like those of you who do/have tow/ed with an A frame in Europe and who have not been stopped to reply, and perhaps say which countries, as it would be very interesting to run a count along side of those who have been stooped."

    2006 3 months tour of France, Spain, Portugal & UK.

    Not stopped during this time, evan when followed by the police.
     
  4. Tony Hunt

    Tony Hunt Read Only Funster

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    In the last 3-4 years we have towed our own car on an A Frame all over Southern Ireland, uk, France, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Denmark and also Spain once about 5 years ago.

    We never ever had any trouble with the police, indeed all we have ever had when they have pulled up alongside or behind is smiles and a nod or wave.

    In view of the recent troubles in spain if I were the only driver onboard in future I certainly wouldnt risk going to spain just incase I were stopped and didnt have somebody to drive the car seperately. I would even be a little worried about southern france as these things can spread.
    As my wife drives I shall still keep towing the car in the other countries until or if the law changes.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2009
  5. superk

    superk Read Only Funster

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    Suspect you might be overwhelmed by positive responses from those who have towed successfully.

    For six winter months of 2003-4; 2004-5; 2005-6; and 2006-7 we towed throughout all areas of France nd Spain. We even had the French police 'attend' at a peage when I refused to pay more for our RV+car than a 40-tonne truck.The police inspected the car and A-Frame but had no comments other than 'pay up.' Observed by many Guardia Civil and Policia in Spain without problem.

    It may be a red herring but did those who were stopped have any signage on the back of the car? We aways had a 'LONG VEHICLE' and a red-yellow striped board such as you find on an artic trailer as well as the triangles. I hesitate to say that 'I heard' of folks being stopped as they exited one of Northern Spain's ferry ports because they didn't have signage. I know the LONG VEHICLE sign has no validity in law but my theory was always that the more you looked like you knew what you were doing the less likelihood of being stopped.

    Rather glad we don't need to tow any more.

    :Smile:
    Keith
     
  6. Road Runner

    Road Runner Read Only Funster

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    No and hope i am not:Angry:
     
  7. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

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    and i think you'll have a long wait for someone to reply on here who has PERSONALLY been stopped and fined.

    we've all heard of someone who's mate has but i bet no-one on fun has been stopped (or gassed for that matter)
     
  8. DJP

    DJP Read Only Funster

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    I have used an A Frame to tow various cars (Smart, Matiz and Jazz) around the UK and Europe. I have covered close on 15000 miles of which approx 8000 miles were in Europe. We have towed through France, Italy, Spain, Andorra, Austria, Germany, Belguim, Holland, Monaco, and Wales!
    We have never ever been stopped. However, we did have a bit of a problem at the French end of the Mont Blanc tunnel.
    They were insistant that we could not tow the Smart through on the A Frame. After much discussion and debate and my insistance that the Smart was a trailer with 4 wheels and similar to a caravan but in reverse, they did actually concede and agree that we could tow the Smart through the tunnel, BUT we had to go through with the artics, no problem. They then classified us as a CONVOY EXCEPTIONAL as we were towing a 4 wheeled trailer. The penalty for that was a toll of some 200 euros. They suggested that if we went through seperately the cost would only be 80 Euro.
    We gave in to the lower cost option and unhitched. Fortunately, my wife can drive.
    They had the last laugh I guess. Having had a conversation with a friend afterwards, they had the same problem, but were allowed to go through at the standard rate.
    Again, it's just down to what happens on the day.
    I would not hesitate in towing in Europe again and infact plan to tow in the summer in France Belguim, Holland and Germany.
     
  9. joan

    joan Read Only Funster

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    Hi to all. Last July we were on our way to Italy from Britany when we were stopped at the Frejus Tunnel by the Italian police and told to take the car off the A frame. (Cris Cox A Frame ) We did as we were asked then 3 more Italian police came and started talking in Italian and looking at the A frame and the car. Toyota Yaris.. They then came and asked several questions about the A Frame did the brakes work manually ? Yes was our reply .They then got on the radio and after several moments they came back to us and told us to put the car back on the A Frame and put it back on the back of the RV as it complied with being a trailer They said thank you and told us that we could carry on our journey as It was legal in their country as the brakes worked manually. I wish we had got them to give us something to prove this as when we were returning to UK in October we were stopped once again in Italy 180km from the tunnel.This time it was a different story. 2 Italian police pulled us up and demanded that we took the car off the A frame we explained all that had gone on on the way down but to no avail. We also explained that we could not take the car off as we would not have a ticket at the toll booth we had to follow them off the motorway at the next exit. When we arrived there we were made to pay 72 euros fine for towning on a A frame or they would take the car off us. When someone is stood there with a gun you do as they tell you. He then told us that the bikes that were on the back were now illegal. By this time i was getting mad.:Angry: I informed him that he had done that as he had made us take the car off which was really a trailer. He wanted to fine us for that as well I informed him that when we got back to UK we would appeal against the fine and he just told us to get on our way and not couple up until we got into France. We did as he asked and left. When we arrived back into the UK we gave the paperwork to our son who is a policeman and we are in the process of getting our money back. The Italian policeman had cancelled his copy of our fine but we still had the original copy that he had signed. So as far as I am concerned Italy cant make its mind up if it is legal or no just depends on what mood the police are in

    Joan
     
  10. PeteH

    PeteH Funster

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    "A" Frame Update

    Hi

    I am currently at Aguilas. Having been stopped Thursday last at about 1pm, by the Spanish motorway police (Guardia Civil) This is the THIRD time in the last year. EVERY time it is the MOTORCYCLE cops who have pulled us. This time we showed the documentation, and I had one cop who spoke a little English, He looked at the paperwork AND at the copy of a sucsessfull appeal, which I carry (1996) HE stated that Spanish law has RECENTLY been updated to make "A" frame towing illegal. I managed to convince him that the only way I could travel on, was a) to continue to tow the vehicle OR b) to abandon the vehicle at the roadside and continue without it. As my disabled wife can drive neither vehicle anyway.

    The upshot was he allowed us to continue, and we arrived Here Thursday evening, we leave again for La Manga on the 28th of February. So watch this space!!.


    Pete
     
  11. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    what appeal is that Peter, do share please.
     
  12. moandick

    moandick Read Only Funster

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    Hi wildman

    The Appeal documentation comes with the Car-a-Tow paperwork.

    See <here>
     
  13. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    Cheers Mo, as that decision was based on a law that has changed and will no longer help. The only system I can see answering all the rules is an ambulance with braked wheels coupled with braking on the car wheels. Then a fully steerable in reverse braked on all wheels will exist and it will become a 4 wheel trailer.
    The ambulance being small enough not to take up too much space when not in use.
     
  14. Tony Hunt

    Tony Hunt Read Only Funster

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    Maybe the doubters are getting the picture.
     
  15. PeteH

    PeteH Funster

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    There is NO doubt.!!!

    Hi

    I am on a site here in Spain with 3 other "A" framers, and to be fair I am the only one to be "pulled" so far. However the concerns here centre mostly around the return trip home, and what steps to take in the future. IF I am forced to go back to using a trailer, it is likely that we are going to experience problems with Storage whilst not in use AND the site owners are likely to be looking for extra payment too. This will further add to cost(s) which this year are I estimate about a third more than last.

    So next years decision may well come down to a straight financial one, and there is a point at which we will not come at all, witch if it was to spread would be a significant dent in the already wavering Spanish economy. It has been reported to me, here, by someone who has been out since October, that BENIDORM, that bastion of the "brits abroad" was Quote "like a ghostown over xmas".

    Another "problem" area, is towing weight, My neighbour here was telling me that the towing limit on his Alco chassie'd Hobby 'Van is only just over 1 tonne and if he has to add the mass of a trailer to his "smart" car he could be in trouble with being over his towing capacity? In My case whilst not critical, I would go from being Legal on my B+1E entitlement (8.25tonne) to needing to keep up my HGV regardless of my age, and the fact that I now rarely use it professionally.

    The answer??, well as I keep telling SWMBO, we could go to the USA where they Know how to do it properly, and be "snowbirds". Maybeeeeeeee?

    Pete
     
  16. DJP

    DJP Read Only Funster

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    Another "problem" area, is towing weight, My neighbour here was telling me that the towing limit on his Alco chassie'd Hobby 'Van is only just over 1 tonne and if he has to add the mass of a trailer to his "smart" car he could be in trouble with being over his towing capacity?

    Not, could be in trouble WILL be in trouble!


    So, for the doubters on the anti side of the frame, Which is safer or illegal?

    1. A van with a towing limit of say 1000kg towing a car on a trailer in an effort to become "fully legal" knowing that the car and trailer will weigh more than their legal towing capacity at 1100kg with 2 wheels on the ground (think overeturned caravans)
    Legal or illegal?

    OR

    2. A van pulling a car well under the maximum towing weight with 4 wheels on the ground on an A Frame?


    Example 1 POSITIVELY illegal and unsafe anywhere in the world.

    Example 2 Never been proved illegal. Never been proved legal. BUT in most of the world and in particular USA as perfectly acceptable and not illegal.

    I don't think there is a definative answer to example 2, but I know which I have chosen and I am certainly not Illegal.:Wink:
     
  17. olley

    olley Funster

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    Hi its not up to the law to comply with you, its up to you to comply with the law, if you can't tow a trailer without being over your max train weight then you can't tow. Simple.

    Using that to justify using an "A" doesn't make you legal, "A" frames are illegal on technicalities, not safety and just because no ones ever been done doesn't change that, only proves that the authorities at the sharp end don't know/care.

    Olley
     
  18. Braunston

    Braunston Read Only Funster

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    Please don't let this digress into the legal issues, please let us return to the original questions, or lets just drop the thread before it turns into an argument.

    Thanks to those who have replied

    Braunston
     
  19. theresa

    theresa Read Only Funster

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    we are not taking our car on the A frame to spain now , as we feel its just not worth the risk as we only have one driver, dont think we would use the car that much in spain any way. we got the car to use when we spend the summer on dartmoor , it will be taken on the Aframe up to the moors thats for sure :Blush:
     
  20. olley

    olley Funster

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    Sorry will keep stum. :BigGrin:

    Olley
     
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