More than 40 drivers were stopped by Merseyside Police and given advice about how to safely pass horses on the road during a road safety operation in May.
Two mounted officers riding police horses Beau and Jake wore plain yellow high-vis clothing and rode single file along a road. When a vehicle passed too fast or too close, they used their radio to alert colleagues from the Roads Policing Unit waiting on motorbikes further up the road.
The drivers were then stopped, told why and given advice on how to pass horses in line with the British Horse Society (BHS)’s Dead Slow campaign message.
On the first day, Wednesday 5 May, officers were deployed to Frankby Road, Frankby, in the morning and Station Road, Thurstaston, in the afternoon. Both locations are in Wirral.
The patrol is part of a BHS initiative to work with police in order to help make the roads safer for horse riders and other vulnerable road users.
Areas are pinpointed according to data provided by the BHS.
“It’s proof that the more incidents and near-misses that are reported to us, via our Horse i app or online, the more evidence we have to pass on to the police so that they can take action,” said BHS director of safety, Alan Hiscox
Most drivers aged over 50
During the patrol, 28 vehicles were stopped.
“All [drivers] appreciated the advice given,” said a statement from Merseyside Police. “Interestingly, the biggest proportion of drivers were aged over 50, with only one driver under 30 being stopped.”
During a patrol the following day (Thursday 6 May), at Gorsey Lane in St Helens, 15 drivers were stopped. Only one of these was under 25 years old.
“The numbers stopped here were actually surprisingly low and the majority of drivers were very considerate, which was nice to see,” added the statement.
“Just 15 drivers required advice, although the area was identified for future speed enforcement activity by the Roads Policing Unit.”
200 speeding offences
During both patrols, the statement said that residents came out of their houses to pass on their thanks to the officers for their efforts.
“One local resident stated that she was massively impressed and reassured by the campaign and fully supported the visible presence in the area,” said the statement.
“A walker also commented about the presence and stated it was ‘good to see’ and was reassured when the future enforcement for speeding motorists was mentioned.”
The police also deployed their Ranger speed detection device and more than 200 offences were recorded.
“The operation seems to have had a massive impact on the local communities, their confidence in Merseyside Police, educating the public of the BHS’s Dead Slow campaign and its safety message,” continued the statement.
“Ultimately, it promoted road safety across these areas in support of reducing Killed & Serious Injury collisions.”
Alan Hiscox added that the patrols are “great news” in the ongoing campaign for safer roads.
Other forces around the UK, including in Scotland, Cornwall, Manchester and the Met in London, have also carried out similar patrols.
“All the data the police use comes from the BHS,” said Alan. “It highlights that if riders report incidents to us, we do do something about it.
“It’s important that we all work together to educate drivers and work towards making the roads safer.”