Be road safe: Bale spikes

Bale spikes should be removed before you go on the road, or tilted back so they’re not a danger.

Taking a tractor and front-end loader on the road with spikes pointing forward is not just dangerous. According to FWi users joining a discussion on the forums, it also makes farmers look irresponsible and thoughtless.

Some suggestions on practical ways to make the implements safer include:

  • Unbolt the tines and carry them separately
  • Tilt the tines up and use a modified pallet to guard them
  • If pulling a trailer of bales, ram the spikes into one of the bales on the trailer and then strap it in place
  • Make spike guards out of steel tubing for travel, being careful not to leave the tubes in the field gateway and losing them in the undergrowth
  • Some manufacturers make units with folding spikes
  • Keep muck and silage grabs down but folded back to minimise the danger.

Anything that could cause danger should be effectively guarded or removed when travelling on the road.

If you have an unprotected bale spike in a position where it could cause danger, you could be prosecuted under Regulation 100 of the Construction and Use Regulations or Section 40 of the Road Traffic Act.

You also need to check that your solution does not cause danger in other ways – lifting front loaders up high, for instance, may take them out of harm’s way, but the HSE doesn’t recommend this because it can make the tractor unstable.

Equally, anything carried at mid-height will tend to reduce the driver’s visibility

The best solution is to remove the spike or carry it on a trailer.

Further information
DfT information sheet on projections. Brief guide from the Department for Transport on ensuring projections are made safe on public roads.