February 2019 – Road Safety and Horses

February 2019 – Road Safety and Horses

Thank you to those who have contacted me about horse riders using roads.

Over 2.5 million people ride a horse at least once each year in Great Britain, many of whom ride on the road. I know that many prefer not to do so, but riders often have no choice because they need to reach bridleways and other off-road facilities. Horse riders have a right to use the road, and both riders and motorists are responsible for each other’s safety.

The THINK! Campaign, which is run by the Department of Transport, provides motorists with advice on how to be considerate. This is based on the Highway Code:

·         Slow down and be ready to stop if necessary
·         Look out for riders’ signals to slow down or stop
·         Watch out for sudden movements, horses can be easily frightened and unpredictable
·         Don’t sound your horn or rev your engine
·         Pass wide and slow when overtaking; giving the horse plenty of room. Don’t accelerate rapidly once you have passed them.

Further to this advice, in August 2018 it was announced the Department for Transport would be reviewing the advice in the Highway Code in relation to overtaking vulnerable road users, including horse riders, because the Department is aware that not all road users follow the rules on safe overtaking.
I believe the full scope of the review has yet to be determined, but I am told it will be conducted in consultation with those representing horse riders.
In addition to the Highway Code review, I am glad that work has taken place with the British Horse Society to support its ‘Dead Slow’ campaign to encourage drivers to pass horses safely.
When on the roads, we should all treat others, including horse riders, considerately.