New safety appeal aims to protect horses on the roads

Car passing horse.JPG

Police are urging road users to look out for horses on the roads as part of a fresh safety appeal.

Officers are asking those using the roads to approach horses with care using the same consideration as they would when driving past pedestrians or cyclists. Cyclists are being asked to slow down and pass wide.

Between April 2016 and December 2018, there were four collisions involving vehicles and horses in Cambridgeshire, two collisions in Bedfordshire, and eight collisions in Hertfordshire – some resulting in fatal injuries.

Share the roads safely

PC Jon Morris, casualty reduction officer at Cambridgeshire Constabulary, said: “Under the Op Velo guidelines, the optimum distance to pass a cyclist is 1.5m and we are urging drivers to approach horses with the same level of caution.

“Look out for the rider’s signals and always take notice of a request to slow down or stop.

“We’d also encourage horse riders to use hand signals wherever possible.

“We’re encouraging all road users to share the roads safely and look out for one another.”

Dead slow

The force’s appeal supports the British Horse Society’s Dead Slow campaign

  • Slow down to a maximum of 15mph

  • Be patient, don’t sound the horn or rev the engine

  • (When safe to do so) pass the horse wide and slow, at least a cars width if possible

  • Drive slowly away

Alan Hiscox, director of safety for The British Horse Society said: “It is important to remember horses are flight animals that can react quickly when startled, and even the most experienced of horses can suddenly react to something they are unsure of. 

“Since the launch of our horse accidents website in 2010, 290 horses and 39 riders have been killed on UK roads.

“If both riders and road users show patience and courtesy to one another whilst sharing the roads, we can help bring the level of accidents down.”

Stay safe

  • Always wear hi-viz clothing and put hi-viz equipment on your horse, even on bright days

  • Where possible avoid riding in poor conditions such as fog or ice

  • Be aware of other road users

  • If you are riding a horse that is not used to roads, make sure you are accompanied by an experienced rider and horse

  • Make sure you have told someone where you are going and what time you are expected back

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