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Horse riders on the roads safety advice for motorists



During 2006 there were 123 horse riders injured in road accidents in Britain, 3 of these were fatalities and 26 were seriously injured.

Motorists should be ready for unexpected reactions from horses when they come across traffic, because sudden noise or fast moving vehicles may panic them and lead to road accidents if drivers aren't prepared.

Some safety measures which could help when driving around horses: -

  • Slow down when you see horses being ridden in the road.

  • If overtaking a horse give it a wide berth and pass slowly.

  • If you are behind a horse keep your distance and be ready to slow down or stop.

  • Around horses don't use your horn, rev your engine or drive too fast it will probably panic them.

  • Often riders are young and inexperienced, they may ride two across to shield inexperienced riders.

  • Although horse riders should signal their intentions, if a horse is edgy the rider may have their hands full so be aware.

  • Watch for riders’ signals, even when going right horses will be on the left side because it would be unsafe for them to go to the centre of the road and risk the horse feeling trapped and panicking between traffic flows.

  • On roundabouts riders usually stay left and signal right at exits they are not using, they will only signal left when they reach the exit they intend taking.

Motorists and horse riders have both got a right to use the road, and if mutual respect and consideration is used it should help to avoid any unnecessary road accidents. Acknowledgement from horse riders may not always be possible if they need to use both hands to control their mount, though you may get a nod of the head.

The British Horse Society (BHS) offer a Riding and Road Safety test which helps riders with their road safety education, it is taken by over 4,000 riders a year.

THINK! also offer information on 'Horse Sense for Motorists'.



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