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If you have purchased a tepee and need to transport the poles in the UK, or indeed wish to know the legal overhang for ladders, poles, canoes, scaffolding, etc below are the official legal requirements: They can be found on the VOSA - Vehicle and Operator Services Agency Operational Manual under Section 26.
Less than 1 metre: No requirement
1m - 2m: Render clearly visable (ie- red ribbons, high vis vest, etc) "Clearly visible within a reasonable distance to a person using the road"
2m - 3.05: Rear marker board required:
Over 3.05 metres: 2 working days notice to the police must be given.
Projections and overhang to the front:
0 - 2m: No requirements
2m - 3.05: Front and side marker board.
Overhang above 3.05: 2 working days notice to the police:
What the VOSA manual doesnt specify is whether or not you can have a two metre front overhang and two metre rear overhang. We contacted VOSA and were informed that this was the case. Therefore, legally you can have a four metre total overhang without the need for a light board.
In practice however, if you have 3 metre mini and wish to carry seven metre poles, whether you are legally entitled to carry them or not, this will look very unsafe so you will almost certainly get stopped (You may also need to consider the weight of your poles and the cars MAM - the weight it is allowed to carry)
If the size of poles you are carrying look unsafe, a print out of the VOSA manual kept in your car to prove they are within the law will certainly save you a lot of time when you are stopped.
We use a van for our tepee hire business and comfortably carry seven metre poles.
The pine poles we use when we hire out for our tipis are cut so they are considerably narrower at their tip than the base. This is the perfect shape as this creates a much smaller opening at the top when the smoke flaps are closed and creates a stable foundation. However, it does mean that we have to be wary in transportation to create an even weight distribution. We therefore have half the poles with the heaviest part at the rear of our hire van and vice versa.