Jump to content

A-Frames in France (Thread copied from Motorhome Talk)


Recommended Posts

Lifted from another British Motorhome Forum just now that Cars being towed via an A Frame behind a motorhome are illegal in France.

There was a recent  article in a French Motorhome magazine Le Monde du Camping Car giving chapter and verse. You can do a Google translate if you don't understand French and the only bit I was still unsure of was the last statement which I interpreted as that if the trailer had a braking system that was similar to the vehicle towing it, it was OK ? or was that my misinterpretation. 

The link to the article is http://www.lemondeducampingcar.fr/actualite/infos/la-voiture-tractee-par-le-camping-car-il-faut-y-renoncer.html

I have been waiting for some time to make my mind up about whether to go for towing a car on not. Still unsure as the statement from the French parliament was in May 2014 and the article in the magazine is the current date ?



Hi Alan

Believe motorhomes towing an "A" frame are also being stopped in Spain.

On the spot fines issued and only allowed to proceed if car is uncoupled and driven independently - difficult if only one person can drive!

Do you know if there is a definitive answer to this for UK as I've heard \ seen conflicting statements on their legality?




'A' Frames have been ruled out for some time now in Spain and in fact a friend of ours who had an RV and towed a small car behind it stopped going to Spain last year because of it. Germany has had some issues with it too with people being stopped and fined on what seems quite spurious offences related to towing.

As far as A Frames in the UK the DVLA and DoT have stated recently that they are acceptable in the UK but may not be acceptable in other European countries.



Thanks Alan

Suppose the "big" question now is - if it's legal in home member country why is it not accepted in others under EU rules?




The legality of A Frames does not come under any European Union legislation but comes under the Vienna Convention of Road Traffic 1968 and this serves as the reference document regarding A Frames. This Document does not have anything written about A Frames but does with regard to other towing matters so each party to the convention interprets it in their own way and can make their own rules / regulations.

A question to the European Commission was asked by Julie Girling MEP for South West England in September 2011 and the above is a my précis of the reply she received. 



Ta Alan



Agreement is for C&U not road traffic rules. A country still has the right to refuse entry at port then.

The issue over the type approval after the modifications as new vehicle is made that needs a re reg and new log book issued. Who owns the type approval for the new vehicles?



Below is the full extract of Julie Girling's (MEP) enquiry to the European Commission.

European Commission Clarification on A-Frames
Created: 06 September 2011
Further to a number of constituent enquiries, Julie recently asked the European Commission to clarify the legality of A-Frame tow bars for towing small cars behind motor-homes with regard to Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Italy and Croatia? Read the full question and the response from the Commission here.
Question for written answer E-007695/2011 to the Commission Rule 117. Julie Girling (ECR)
Subject: A-Frame compatibility
Can the Commission please clarify the legality of A-Frame tow bars for towing small cars behind motor-homes with regard to Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Italy and Croatia?
Could the Commission also please clarify if any restrictions in said countries have a consequence as regards the right of temporary passing through or short stay for cars with A-Frames?
E-007695/2011 Answer given by Mr Tajani on behalf of the Commission
A combination of vehicles made up of a towing vehicle and a towed vehicle, both of which are in category M1 (specifically a motor-home and a car), falls outside the scope of EU law.
The Vienna Convention on Road Traffic of 8 November 1968 serves as the reference document in this matter.
Among other things, Annex 5 of the above-mentioned Convention sets out the conditions to be met by all vehicles in international traffic but only covers motor vehicles towing a ‘trailer designed to be coupled to a motor vehicle’.
Apart from emergency breakdown towing, none of the Convention provisions concern towing of a car using an ‘A-frame’ tow bar . Each contracting party may therefore apply its own national legislation in the matter.
The Commission does not have any information on the national rules which apply in the Member States and candidate countries referred to by the Honourable Member.
With regard to transit via countries in which such vehicle combinations are banned, the absence of relevant provisions in the Vienna Convention means that the contracting parties involved may restrict or ban such traffic.

So it seems to me that each country can apply its own rules / legislation regarding to the use of A Frames in their own country and apply it to both their own 'countrymen' and visitors. 




Interesting post. I don't suppose there were many motorhomes towing cars in 1968 which is the likely reason they were not included the Vienna Convention?



Surely they are getting confused with breakdown towing dollies once they start mentioning "breakdown" . A  A frame  towing is a different type of towing .

This seems to be confused by the two different methods?  A towing "breakdown type" dolly will never be allowed as it does not comply to braking laws  with unbraked wheels on the road .

I have never seen any information on these brake units that are fitted to A frame cars having EU type approval for the units to make them legal to fit  . If anyone knows different can they give a link . The electric brake controller fitted to UK vehicles for the electric brakes on US trailers to tow them have to be EU type approved .

As its a requirement for equipment to be type approved for towing i would of thought you possibly risk your MHs insurance in the event of a accident .

IMO use a trailer 





Links added by Admin for information

This is a promotional video but we note that the car should also be secured to the trailer before moving off.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Admin changed the title to A-Frames in France (Thread copied from Motorhome Talk)

  • Create New...