A leading equine insurer has launched a campaign to improve the safety of rural roads.

NFU Mutual’s Respect Rural Roads campaign follows news that nationally between 2018 and 2020, more people lost their lives on rural roads (3,115 fatalities) than on urban roads (1,880 fatalities).

The company commissioned its own independent research to find out what motorists think about safety on rural roads, and the experiences they have had when driving.

It revealed that more than one in 10 motorists who lived in an urban area said they found horse riders the most challenging aspect of driving on rural roads.

They found 15 percent of motorists living in rural areas had been involved in a collision on a rural road, and 60 percent felt the main cause of collisions on rural roads was motorists going too fast, with 14 percent believing narrow roads were the main cause.

“Independent research commissioned by NFU Mutual reported that for 85 percent of people living in the countryside, rural road safety is an important issue for them,” said Jade Devlin, Rural Roads Specialist for NFU Mutual.

“By raising awareness of the issue, we hope everyone using country roads will respect their unique hazards and dangers, and that our guidance will help people to put safety first.”

Advice has been shared for those using rural roads, as well as guidance specifically for riders.

The campaign is supported by the British Horse Society (BHS), the Department for Transport and British Cycling.

Alan Hiscox, Director of Safety at the BHS, said the organisation was dedicated to improving road safety for riders and other vulnerable road users.

“Through statistics we collated as part of our Dead Slow campaign, we know that equestrians experience high numbers of serious road incidents involving horses and vehicles,” he said.

“As the vast majority of these incidents occur on rural roads, we are pleased to support the NFU’s campaign to make rural roads safer for everyone and create awareness for all road users on this important issue.”

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