Sharing the road with horses and riders
Riders bring their horses onto the roads for many reasons, usually with no problem and good all-round co-operation. However, incidents do occur, often because of a lack of understanding between driver and rider. The British Horse Society estimates that there are around 3,000 accidents1 involving horses on the road each year, the vast majority of which could be avoided.
GEM chief executive David Williams MBE says: “It’s easy for drivers to blame other road users when there are incidents or differences of opinion. By developing a better understanding of the needs and concerns of others, we know we are doing our bit to make everyone safer on the roads.”
“Horse behaviour on the road can be unpredictable, despite the best efforts of the most experienced rider. The best thing we as car drivers can do is to be aware of the possible dangers, and to reduce them by slowing down and giving riders plenty of room.”
GEM offers five simple tips to promote safety for drivers, riders and horses:
• Give a horse as much room as the road allows. Slow right down as you go past, and be prepared to stop altogether if required.
• Look out for the signals made by the rider, and always take notice of a request to slow down or stop. A rider may see or hear something happening that you are not aware of.
• Sometimes it’s necessary for riders to go two abreast on the road, usually to reduce risk for an inexperienced horse or rider. Be patient and courteous, and only pass when it’s safe.
• Look for clues: triangular warning signs, the presence of stables, fields and gates all suggest that horses and riders may be on the road. Horse manure on the road is a give-away, too.
• The vast majority of riders will want to thank you for your consideration. However, if they are busy controlling the horse, please excuse them for not acknowledging your assistance, but be sure they will appreciate your help.