Kayak Safety Flag Pt2

I'm still trying to reach a satisfactory understanding of how British law requires us to highlight our kayaks while in transit.

It was finding the New Zealand regulations which started me down this road. There have been some useful, but as yet inconclusive, comments on that post and on the UK Sea Kayak Guidebook forum.

I e-mailed the Department for Transport and today received a Word Document copy of its fact sheet. Sadly, it is also inconclusive.



If a load projects up to one metre, either forwards or backwards, no action is required.
If a load projects 1-2 metre forwards, no action is required.
If a load projects 1-2 metres backwards, "End must be made clearly visible. Para 4 Sch 12"
For details consult regulation 82 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986: SI 1986 No. 1078 as amended.

As most sea kayaks will project backwards 1-2 metres, then their "ends must be made clearly visible". What does that mean? High-viz markers like the Kari-tek one in the photo sent to me by Cailean? Lights at night?

I've e-mailed back to ask for a definition of "clearly visible"


Cailean Macleod said...

Consult a serving road traffic police officer - they after all are the folks who enforce the current law and deal with the shades of grey surrounding it?

Mark Tozer said...

Many years ago, my first car I owned was a Nova and the first sea kayak I owned was an Artisan

I got stopped in Bangor by female police office on patrol whose first comment on seeing the overhang of the boat at the back was ' Crikey, you could have someone's eye out with that'!

Her advice was to tie something to the stern to act as a warning flag. Anything from an old T-shirt to a pair of tights. She declined to offer me hers, ho hum.

I know that motorboats in transit are requied to cover the engine with a orange bag to clearly mark there is propeller but I don't think the same is expected of other items on a roof

Window cleaners, builders etc often just use an old rag

Where has this come from? Are you planning to travel in NZ with sea kayaks or just being extra cautious in the UK?

persoanlly I have webbing streamers on the end of my boats that also act as rescue aids in the surf. Seals quite like to play with them too

Simon Willis said...

Thanks Cailean and Mark

No plans to go to NZ (more's the pity!). So where has this come from? I'm naturally curious.

Seeing the NZ regs set out so clearly, I wondered if this was a "grey area". Good stories frequently lurk in grey areas!

Most comments so far boil down to "..in my experience", or point me towards some guidelines drawn up by a sports body, which ammounts to a codified version of the same thing.

Asking a police officer, in my experience (those weasil words again!) just results in the individual officers interpretation of the law as he or she remembers it.

What I'm trying to drill down to is the written law on which that police officer would act.

I suspect it might be deliberately vague to give them and the courts leeway in which to act.

But at first reading, a law which says of a kayak extendng 1-2m from the rear of the vehicle the "end must be clearly visible" does have implications for transporting boats at night.

I also recall the early days of mountain biking when police began stopping cars with bikes slung on the back of them. The problem there was the bikes slightly obscured lights and number plates. OK that's different to kayaks, but there is a parllel.

There was no problem when there were few bikers, but with the explosion in popularity of MTBs it became an issue for the police.

I've started, so I'm going to try to finish...