Unprotected towbars

Submitted: Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 08:25
ThreadID: 80204 Views:4571 Replies:15 FollowUps:10
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Hi all

A question on the legality of unprotected towbars. I know I have banged my leg many times on the protruding bar and now remove it when not being used. How do you stand legally by the R.T.A. and insurance companys if someone else injured themselves on your towbar? I see many bars on the back of vehicles unprotected, and in this current climate of people suing for the slightest thing wondered what the legal position is.

Thanks once again for any replies.

Cheers Warren.
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Reply By: Outbacktourer - Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 08:32

Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 08:32
I understand that if a towbar is removeable then it is illegal to have it attached when not in use so I imagine if someone were injured by it you would be on shakey groung legally.

OBT
AnswerID: 424703

Follow Up By: Wherehegon - Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 08:54

Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 08:54
All the towbar tongue's are removable wether its by pulling the pin and removing the hayman reese tongue or undoing the two bolts and removing the tongue. Except the ones I think on Ford explorers, they are part of the rear step bar, no tongue. Im not sure wether your doing your self any favours by putting on one of those rubber thingos around the front of the tongue as your then leaving yourself open saying ""its hurts when you hit it"" Place is going nuts. All the do gooders. Regards Steve M
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Reply By: Wherehegon - Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 08:49

Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 08:49
Legally I reckon your goooooone. I know of a lady who tripped in a car park and fell dead smack on the towbar and smashed her face up extremely bad requiring plastic surgery. broken eye socket etc. She could have sued I reckon on two grounds. firstly the ground in the car park has broken away causing her to trip in the first place, then she could have sued the owner of the wagon as she hit her head/eye on the tow ball. I reckon they were extremely lucky as she is an elderly lady and from the old school so not into suing everybody for things. I doubt the woman or bloke who owned the wagon even new of what happened. She was helped up by passer bys and an ambulance called and taken away to hospital, no one even thought of getting number plate of wagon etc, her kids were telling her to sue the car park owner but she never bothered. I reckon the owner of the wagon was extremely lucky. The prado is not so bad as my spare wheel on the back door is level with the tow ball so you would have to bang your self on the rear wheel cover first. If it was protruding too much then I would remove it but its not so its stop people who cant drive from tapping the rear bar of my prado, and has been tapped a couple of times. But where do you draw the line ?? What about bullbars ?? side steps, rear step bars like on the hiluxs incorperating the towbar ?? Regards Steve M
AnswerID: 424711

Follow Up By: Fragle_Rock (VIC) - Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 09:16

Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 09:16
It is not a simple matter of suing somebody just because you tripped over something, or walked into something. Negligence must first be proven and that is not always that easy to do and can cost big $$ trying to prove it. Although I think we are going down the path of blaming others for anything that happens (its always soembody elses fault), I think we a re lucky that our legal system differs to that of the US for example, where it seems to be very easy to litigate anyone of anything.

Now be warned......anyone who replies to this and hurts my feelings I will sue your ass.........whilst I am at it the guy that deilivers my newspaper in the morning threw it in the garden again causing me to get wet........I think that he also deserves some legal action also!

Cheers
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FollowupID: 695172

Follow Up By: fisho64 - Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 15:00

Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 15:00
"can cost big $$ trying to prove it'

thats where the "ambulance chasers" come in, offering legal rep on a contingency basis. Of course they grab the cases where they reckon they can win but even a lawyer will tell you its just a lottery. If the case was cut and dried the insurance company would likely settle out of court to keep a lid on it.
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Reply By: vk1dx - Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 09:26

Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 09:26
I have walked into both towbars and those horribly dangerour pushbike carriers. The tow bars have been mainly my fault as they dont stick out much. But the bike carrier was whwn I was talking to my grand son and just didn't look up. I suppose you could say its my fault also. So be it.

Wouldn't it be nice if the owners considered others and removed or folded them down. I think so. Our hitch is always removed and stashed in the car. A 5 second job.

Or isn't courtesy in peoples vocabulary. Who cares about the legality of it. Take it off.

Regarding the legality issue I would call the RTA and ask them. But then we wouldn't have anything on this forum to chat about would we.

Phil
AnswerID: 424718

Follow Up By: Allan B, Sunshine Coast, - Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 10:30

Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 10:30
The following is a copy-and-paste from Queensland Transport page on Vehicle Modifications:

BICYCLE/WHEELCHAIR/ROOF RACKS
Tow bar mounted bicycle and wheelchair carrying racks
must be removed when not in use, unless specifically
approved to remain attached.

I would expect much the same from other States legislation.
But it does not seem to be much obeyed or policed.

These damn things are right at eye level and often with rather sharp edged brackets.
It is only a matter of time before someone loses an eye and sues the vehicle owner who is clearly negligent as it is unlawful by legislation and also probably not covered by insurance being an unlawful attachment.

Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: fisho64 - Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 15:03

Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 15:03
those regs dont say though whether that is only while the vehicle is being operated.
I wonder where it stands in terms of being parked, where this type of injury invariably occurs?

Normally a car is "unroadworthy" (canaried) if it is being operated rather than parked.
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 16:24

Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 16:24
Why then in the ACT can you be defected when parked in a public carpark!!!
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Follow Up By: fisho64 - Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 18:39

Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 18:39
sorry wasnt aware of that, as I havent been to ACT and its not on the bucket list!
I imagine if thats the case though the police would only do it in certain circumstances as a car with a flat battery, flat tyre, etc are all deemed unroadworthy
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Reply By: D200Dug- Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 09:36

Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 09:36
There is probably a market for slip over soft covers ( in safety orange ) for towbars.

I doubt if a successful case could be mounted for injuries as here in Australia the legal system is not yet totally insane.

AnswerID: 424720

Reply By: Member - Fred B (NT) - Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 09:43

Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 09:43
I know its not "Phriday" or even "Friday"... but here goes...

Q. Whats the difference between a rotweiler and a lawyer?






A. The rotweiler eventually lets go......


regards
Fred B
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AnswerID: 424721

Reply By: Hairs & Fysh - Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 11:32

Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 11:32
Hmm, Thats what your shin is for, to let you know you are to close to the vehicle.
Another hazard is tradies utes/vans that have ladders, timber, piping and other over size objects on their roof racks. that protrude more than 1.2M. Got no idea how many times I've hit my melon on timber poking out the front of a ute that is nose in parked while walking along the foot path.
Being a chippie, I still get caught with one of the buggers, guess thats why I've got a head like a busted crab :)


AnswerID: 424733

Reply By: Honky - Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 12:38

Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 12:38
In NSW their is an act called Civil Liabilities act which states that you cannot sue for an obviuos risk.
ie is a normal person called have seen the pot hole but you didn't than it is your fault.
In my opinion if everyone leaves their tall ball on their car than it could be expected that you do not walk within a foot of that vehicle.
A duty of care may not be as high for an individual than say a corporation.

it would be different if the injury was a workers compensation claim

Regards

Honky
AnswerID: 424736

Reply By: Rod E B - Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 14:34

Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 14:34
If you have the time to read this post

it covers most of the assumptions



http://www.caravanersforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=9608
AnswerID: 424749

Reply By: OzTroopy - Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 15:08

Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 15:08
Anybody close enough to the vehicle to injure themselves on a towbar, deserves what they get .....

The problem is simply solved by keeping a reasonable distance from other peoples property.

Hopefully some of the injured ones were foiled by the injury and didnt pinch the spare tyre cover ..... LOL


AnswerID: 424752

Reply By: Road Warrior - Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 15:42

Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 15:42
Isnt all this covered by the ADR's relating to towbar manufacturers and fitment to vehicles?
AnswerID: 424754

Reply By: Member - Tour Boy ( Bundy QLD) - Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 16:26

Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 16:26
I found that by having the huge Trigg hitch on my cruiser on a tongue that was long enough to clear the rear wheel carrier then no one hit me whilst parking anymore.
While the vehicle was having it's 6 monthly pit inspection (public passenger vehicle NSW) the inspector hit his knee on it, looked at me and said nothing. I normally used to take it off for the HVIS inspection but forgot.

So I doubt that there is a reg in NSW for it. They did try to fail me once because the rear mudflaps were half and inch too short....they were factory...I won that arguement too eventually.

Cheers
Dave
Cheers,
Dave
2010 Isuzu FTS800 Expedition camper
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AnswerID: 424756

Reply By: Hairy (NT) - Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 17:17

Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 17:17
If your quick enough, reverse over them before they get to complain. Its probably cheaper and easier to get out of!
AnswerID: 424763

Reply By: Rossco td105 - Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 17:41

Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 17:41
Hey all,

I guess we could all just try and look where we are walking?

Cheers.
AnswerID: 424768

Follow Up By: Hairy (NT) - Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 17:44

Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 17:44
WHAT!!!! and take responsibility for your own stupidity???????
I think your asking a bit much aren't you? LOL
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FollowupID: 695225

Reply By: Ray - Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 18:08

Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 18:08
I have always wondered if someone walked into my towbar and broke it???? I will now consult a solicitor. Also I don't believe that we have lawyers in Australia only solicitors (that don't solicit), barristers and Queens Councils.
Also how would you get on if you were hit by one of those "Goffers"? Was almost wiped off by one. The old chap in it got rather upset when I threatened to turn his goffer over with him in it.
Nice bloke ain't I?
AnswerID: 424773

Follow Up By: Allan B, Sunshine Coast, - Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 18:36

Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 18:36
The expression "Lawyer" means different things in different places. It is a general term in Australia for a Legal Practitioner.

"In Australia the word "lawyer" is used to refer to both barristers and solicitors (whether in private practice or practising as corporate in-house counsel)."
Ref: Wikipedia

Cheers
Allan

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Reply By: mechpete - Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 20:49

Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 20:49
Warren .
are you saying you don,t have a duty of care for your own safety .
next time you might be a bit more vigilant .
what happens when you bump into something around you own place
who are you going to sue .
mechpete
AnswerID: 424813

Follow Up By: Member - warren h (SA) - Thursday, Jul 22, 2010 at 07:53

Thursday, Jul 22, 2010 at 07:53
Mechpete,
I never said any such thing if you read my post you will see that I have said I NOW REMOVE THE TOWBAR to stop this happening and I dont know about you but I find it is easy to forget about the towbar when working around the vehicle for it is so low it is not in your line of vision and it is so easy to become distracted and bingo a sore shin.

I take responsibility for my own actions and have been in situations many timed where I could have sued but have never done so, this world is getting crazier by the minute and one of my pet hates is people who will not take responsibility for their own actions and this covers many areas.

All I was enquiring about was the legal implications if someone else damaged themselves on a protruding tow bar and also thought the responses may be of interest to fellow forum members and it seems to have generated some interest if going by the amount of views the post has generated.

Cheers warren.
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