Sunday, January 24, 2010


Towbars are a necessary fitting for many cars, but I am surprised that their development has not advanced to the point that they are not there when they are not being used. They can be very dangerous for pedestrians.

Twenty years ago plus one of our neighbours had a stroke. I took our neighbour on our other side to visit her at Caulfield Hospital. We were walking through the hospital carpark and at the very last second I could see the neighbour was about to walk into a towbar. There was no time to utter a warning. I just tried to grab her as she walked into it. I did not stop her but I did break her fall as she hit the ground. She was ok, just cut and bruised.

Several years later, my mother did the same thing. I was not there. She ended up in hospital for a day.

I am very conscious of towbars when I am out walking with someone. I watch them to see that they aren't going to walk too close to the rear of a car if there is a towbar sticking out.

Really, you would think that something could be done about such dangerous protrusions.


  1. Sorry to be commenting so much but you're absolutely right on this one, I used to knock my leg on my own bloody towbar. The big trouble is they're level with your shinbone, and the pain is enormous. I don't see why they can't be swivelled under the car when not in use.

    (Fair dinkum, you could be onto something with this one, and I mean $$$$$$$)

  2. I was going to say something about "dangerous protrusions" and how I'm often stricken around Williamstown beach, but must be careful here, there are ladies.

  3. Anonymous11:28 pm

    Fuck a Duck - what you guys are describing are cheap shit tow-bars, barely adequate to take a (small) trailer to the tip. A well engineered tow-bar will cope with the max permissible towing weight of the vehicle, has multiple, reinforced attachment points. It has a REMOVABLE bar assembly held in place by a steel pin secured by a spring clip, and a locking bolt to stop it rattling around. Will also have a cast steel plate on it to hold the ride levelers if your towing something heavy, eg a caravan. Essential if you want to keep some semblance of control of your vehicle. Best known one here in OZ is made by Hayman-Reese(sp?) - cost about 1K fitted, and most people dont know they even exist...
    So. There. Think about this if you want to get one fitted.

  4. Anonymous11:52 pm

    You can be fined by an officer of the law if you have one on your car and you are not towing at that point. Hubby got a fine for it about 20yrs ago... perhaps laws have changed?
    Tow bars remiond me of those end of the hospital bed winders we used to have here at work.... trip over them, bang your leg on them, I was always briused until we got remote control beds.

  5. Anonymous11:53 pm

    Michael...yes, Hayman Reese are the best ones out there, we have one for when we tow our caravan about. Cazzie!!!

  6. Fuck an emu the towbar on my ute ain't a Louis Vuitton but it's dragged enormous loads to the tip, plus handled car trailers with vehicles on them. It also tore a large tree trunk out with chains.
    But I'll listen to suggestions -and advice. My advice to myself is go live in Toorak but fuck a rooster I can't afford it.

  7. As far as I know, there is no legally approved towbar for sale in Australia that does not include a detachable tongue.

    Removal of said tongue when not in use is the owners responsibility, and I hate to break it to most owners but a towbar does not offer additional rear impact protection. In fact you're more likely to suffer structural damage (as opposed to mere cosmetic damage) at the rear of your car, while some other fuckstick with a towbar hammers the fuck out of the front of your car.

    And before you start on me (not you Andrew, but others might chip in), I've lived on a farm, I've owned three vehicles with towbars in the past and I've worked in the auto industry for nine years, so I kinda get what I'm on about.

  8. Anonymous11:59 am

    Its a case of "what you can get away with" I thinks - there are ADR rules on these things, most are ignorant/dont care - its not their shins that are being injured.
    And I have done really stupid things with tow-bars, got away with it - Mutant, did you find when removing stumps you broke the tow rope, had to double/triple it up till it worked? - now, that must have been doing the vehicle good!. (But since we probably only drove old shitheaps when young, it didn't really matter....)

    PS - isn't farming still regarded as the most dangerous occupation because of farmers doing (still) silly things....
    PPS - thanks for the info re legally approved bars having removable tongues, didn't know that one. I have a really good mechanic, in return for lots of money he works all this out for me and the vehicle runs faultlessly...

  9. Well pardon me but I'm naturally offended with the suggestion that my towbar is inadequate, okay? It's ordinary, but not inadequate. I might spend 1K on a bigger donger but never on a better towbar; I don't want anything flash. My pal towed a huge concrete boat from Frankston to Mordialloc with a little towbar on a little Toyota and no deluxe sort of towbar would have stopped that little car doing the Lambada the way it did. A towbar is a towbar is a towbar, that's all, and my credentials for saying so is a past association with Arab car re-birthers out this way plus a still regular looksee at Manheim Fowles vehicle salvage auctions, Altona. Okay? Thanks very much. Fixed towbars are a hazard, thanks go to Highriser for amplifying this, if he can instigate an easy foldunder design he'll be able to buy his whole block of flats outright and put another thirty stories on top.

    Good boy.

  10. I expect many do the same RH.

    Michael, even I know about Hayman Reese hitches. They have been around a long time. So it is easily removed then. I think that is the problem. Ease of removal.

    The expensive ones are especially good at balancing the load RH.

    Cazzie, I had a vague idea that they are illegal when the vehicle is not towing. I would guess that is still the case.

    Tongue. That's the word Mutant. My Humber had an off centre tow bar on the front as well as the rear. Parking a caravan I suppose. It had a neat fold up chrome cover. As earlier Mutant, they need to be easily detachable so no rolling around on the ground with spanners.

  11. OH, I used to knock my shin on those bed winders, Cazzie, especially the older types that didn't fold under the bed.
    Now there's an idea for tow bars, fold under mechanism like the bed, effective and easily defeated by some structural engineer claiming the fold would cause a weak point in the whole design and be unsafe for towing!

  12. Jayne, aren't they all electric now? Cazzie?

  13. Michael, and Mutant, I read your comments with great interest. Thanks.

  14. Anon's comment "Fuck a Duck -" was one of don's favourite - haven't heard it for ages - it sometimes went with this little schoolboy rhyme
    "Fuck a Duck,
    Fart a Pedal
    Bust your arse
    and win a medal"

    but then i digress - haven't run into a towbar yet but come awful close - they are mongrels of things

  15. Goodness knows what the origin of that might be MC. They are bad. People don't tow as much as they used to though, so less around.

  16. Anonymous9:36 pm

    Erk.....hope for the best, plan for the worst. One of the side effects of getting older, I guess.