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Rather than Hijack the thread, I thought I would start a-new !




I was not going anywhere ( or in no particular direcion ) with my comment other than a rather "Victor Meldrew" approach to things EU !



What we have to do in the UK , to satisfy EU requirements seems to bear little resembulence to other countries efforts in the same field of legislation


The thread about head lights made me chuckle, In France and Spain ( I could be corrected here) you could not register a UK Motor home if the habitation door is on the UK nearside. In this case the RHD dips would not even get near a French testing station !








Carried over from previous thread +++


"""tonyishuk - 2007-02-20 4:16 PM O/T How many of you have seen continental lorries in the UK with Beam Benders on their H/lights ? In my travels , one ! ( in 2 years of being that interested """


""Not sure where you're going with this, Tony.


They aren't UK registered, so much of the foregoing is not, strictly, relevant.


However they should a) have headlights adapted to dip left, but b) as you say I've never seen one so equipped (and yes, they do drive after dark), but c) it's our own fault for not holding them back at the port of entry until sorted out.


Maybe one of those popular petitions to the Prime Minister to tell someone like Customs to check??




Edited by Brian Kirby 2007-02-20 4:26 PM





======= (!)

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Isn't it more to do with the fact that 'their' headlights don't swing so violently towards the kerbside and so don't require so much correction.


On the whinge topic, I'm sick of people carping on about EU regulations when most of the time it is the UK's knee jerk reaction to slavishly follow the rules as set in Bruxelles which causes the problems; while other [more intelligent?] [more rational?] nations apply common sense. :-> >:-)



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tonyishuk - 2007-02-20 5:15 PM Rather than Hijack the thread, I thought I would start a-new ! Hi I was not going anywhere ( or in no particular direcion ) with my comment other than a rather "Victor Meldrew" approach to things EU ! What we have to do in the UK , to satisfy EU requirements seems to bear little resembulence to other countries efforts in the same field of legislation The thread about head lights made me chuckle, In France and Spain ( I could be corrected here) you could not register a UK Motor home if the habitation door is on the UK nearside. In this case the RHD dips would not even get near a French testing station ! Rgds Tony

I don't think either issue has to do with the EU. 

It has always been required that vehicle lights conform to the laws of whatever country one is in and we, in UK, have never enforced that requirement.  Silly us!  The French, on the other hand, hand out on the spot fines (and have since at least the 1960's) if lights (anyone's lights, including the French) are defective - which is why we all used to have to have yellow bulbs in France and why we apply headlamp masks.  If we don't, we risk getting fined!  That, overall, is to their advantage after dark.  Clever them.

Should the habitation door be on the nearside?  Clearly the French and the Spanish think it should, and I've no idea whether a RHD van with the door on the "wrong" side can be registered in those countries or not.  However, if we choose to allow registration of vehicles with habitation doors on the "wrong" side, that might be because we are just more accommodating, or maybe, less safety concious.  However, it clearly isn't because EC regulations are over proscriptive - unless you mean you want them stiffened up so that we have to do as the Spainsh and the French, and vice versa!

In practice, there should be no question of right dipping lamps ever being presented at UK testing stations, because they are supposed to have been changed for left dipping ones prior to registration.  However, that we don't enforce our own laws is surely our own silly fault, not that of the EC.

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Hi Brian,


I agree with what you say .... the Law is the Law.


The problem is that the UK are not consitent in how they apply it. Which is both a good thing and a bad thing. I don't want spot fines. But I would like to know that everybody else is being treated the same as myself.


Is the UK the only member of the EU that has the SVA? this alows us to do all sorts of silly things to our vehicles, with officialdom's approval, provided they are safe.


Why can't we fit vertical dip headlights, which should offend nobody...or is it that they must not be fitted on brand new vehicles.





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I fail to comprehend why, when taking UK registered and legally complying with UK Laws, vehicle across EC countries, those other partners in EC dictate what is or is not allowed, as may be their interpretation.

It is in the EC Statutes that all vehicles in transit in Europe are to be allowed "freedom of transit" without hinderance, provided the vehicle is in the country of origins regulations.

This has been the subject of considerable debate amongst the motorcycling fraternity, which I am part of.

Spanish police were in the habit of turning away motorcycles pulling little trailers until an appeal to Brussels resolved the issue, favourably.

It was mostly down to a direct interpretation of the language used in both countries. It has been similarly debated on the issue of headlamps that dip down & up only. Not dipping to left or right

Certain American motorcycles, favoured by toureres, have up & down dip, and are allowed transit across Europe because they conform to American standards, which are deemed to be reciprocal.

Howeve, the nub of the matter is, how can the individual convey these facts to the armed police of the various regulatory countries :-|

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But no country is entirely consistent in how they apply law.  The problem, mainly, in UK is that we have vast piles of law no one enforces, until some disaster takes place.  Look at Bernard Matthews and his turkeys.  Had the hygiene regs been properly policed and enforced the probability is it would never have happened. 

SVA comes from Europe, along with the other varieties of Type Approval.  It applies only to one off, or nearly so, cases.  The other states have the same rights to licence oddball vehicles.  I half suspect the French Aixam, and similar, small slow mostly diesel powered death traps are on the road under this loophole.  I can't believe they'd ever be produced in sufficient quantity to justify full crash testing and all else that would be required for full EC Type Approval.

The European regulations for headlamps require the beam to extend along the nearside of the road.  That is so that we can better see pedestrians.  Vertical dippers aren't so good at that, so would put any pedestrians at greater risk.  I would not support vertical dippers, except possibly on bikes, where cranking them over on bends makes the nearside beam pattern go a bit silly.  Properly adjusted, which is the key, the Euro pattern dipped beam is, in my opinion, infinitely superior. 

Could you fit vertical dippers?  Don't know.  However, in view of the "body contour" style of headlamps fitted today, you'd probably have to see if they are fitted as standard to any vehicles exported to countries where that pattern is the norm, and get them as specials.  You could buy many sets of beam benders for the same price!  Would they pass the MoT?  Possibly, but you'd need to check.

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I think the answer to your question is at the end of your post.  The law is made pan European, but it is up to the individual states how, within reason, they interpret it.  The approach to compliance varies widely across Europe.  Very roughly, the Northern protestant states are generally a bit more law abiding than the Southern catholic ones, which seems to stem from the differing traditions regarding absolution for sin, etc.  (I'll be in trouble now, just watch!).  However, that is just with regard to the state laws since the reverse seem true when it comes to the fundamental, more biblical, laws (theft, murder etc etc).  Bikers, on the other hand seem generally to adhere to neither, or both, traditions simultaneously!

So, as you head off to the South, the police are more inclined to have on the spot fining powers, and to act tougher than UK police over minor infringements, because such things as speed limits and lighting laws are that bit more casually treated by the natives.  However, that is part of what makes the travel interesting, and contributes to the different flavours of the different countries.  Personally, I'm very strongly pro Europe, but I'd equally strongly rue the day when all of Europe is reduced to the same omnipresent grey - I revel in that diversity, it keeps you awake.

These issues surrounding Euro uniformity are very odd, and so often do begin to sound just a wee bit like pleas for the rest of Europe to be exactly like the UK.  On the other hand, they so often seem to be put forward by folk who then say they don't like the EEC at all and wish we were out of it.  Can't have it both ways, comes to mind!

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HI, will some of the laws in france are very odd, I put my UK transit based camper on french plates last year, and had to remove the rear seat belts and have the v5 stating that only two people could travel in the van as I had a right hand side door. But the odd thing here is that the police are getting harder on drink drivers and speeders, and a french mate lost his licence due to being both over the limit and speeding. He went out and got a small elec car, he needs no licence or insurrance and hes still on the road, all very odd. But thats france.


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Thanks for the input Brian. I have had dealings with Eurocrats and biking regulations/interpretations for some years now, through the BMF/MAG & FEMA organisations, that strive hard to protect us from ill thought out predjuces.

However, the Aixam also comes in petrol versions, much quicker at 65 mph, and more able to flow with current traffic in most towns.

Agree that the diesel version is a liability, being so slow in roundabouts, etc. But no worse than the much vaunted electric cars with batteries running low ! (^)

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I didn't realise that it was illegal to sell motorhomes to the rest of Europe with habitation doors on 'their' wrongside ?

A quite effective bar to reciprical trading surely ? with the amount of imported vans in the UK increasing every year surely it won't be long before we see UK manufactured vans as 'Rare as hens teeth' (bad taste now due to avian flu ?). If they can sell 'Dangerous' vans to US (i dispute that they ARE dangerous by the way) why shouldn't we be able to sell our vans to them ? the answer can only be cynical trading. I suppose we could specialise in Habitation doors in the rear ?

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May I add a couple of comments:


1. Whatever you've been told, it is against EU Law to discriminate against vehicles that have the habitation door on the wrong side. This is covered by EU competition rules and has nothing to do with vehicles specifically, though it was partly designed to stop, for example, the Italians banning imports that didn't have some special light fitting.


2. Motorhomes entering the UK are exempt from the SVA test and always have been. This may not be the case with other EU countries as this is not an area that has been EU'd as yet - the process is currently under way.


3. There is a fundamental difference between our legal system and that of most of the rest of Europe, which is why implementing the same EU Legislative Directives achieves such different results:


- English Law (the system that applies throughout the UK of GB and NI) is basically restrictive: you can do anything you like unless the law specifically forbids it. Hence the debate over A-frame towing, because there is not a specific statement in the Regs banning it.


- Napoleonic Law (devised in France, but also the basis of the legal systems of all the other large population European countries including, oddly, Germany) is basically permissive: you cannot do anything at all unless it is permitted by law. Thus A-frame towing is not permitted, so it is illegal, even though based on the same EU legislative directives that are implemented in the UK.


So the fact that officials in other EU member states apply the law differently from how we in the UK do it may be simply down to:


- ignorance of the competition rules

- intentional failure to comply with the competition rules (VW were fined over €100 milion some years ago for stopping their Austrian dealers selling to German and Italian residents)

- a law or regulation on the statute books of said country which is at odds with EU legislation or treaties and should have been removed but hasn't been.


Of course, this all makes it difficult for the individual who has been stopped and fined on the spot. Perhaps if we persuaded our Police to accept operating 'on the spot' fines (they refuse to do so), the law would be applied properly here. They repeatedly tell us that there's no point in stopping foreign drivers for speeding, etc., unless the infringement is so bad that it warrants arrest - because they simply ignore any summons.



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