In March of this year, a campaign was launched by the British Horse Society (BHS) that has been looking to highlight the importance of slowing down for horses on the road. In a report that delivered some quite astounding statistics, the BHS found that since the launch of their ‘Horse Accidents’ website (http://www.bhs.org.uk/safety-and-accidents/report-an-incident) in 2010, there have been over 2,000 reports of road incidents involving horses, with deaths occurring 36 times for riders and 181 for the horses.
We can all agree that these are shocking figures, especially when you look deeper at the cause of death. Feedback from riders and witnesses of accident showed that an incredible 74% of accidents were down to road users refusing to give the horse enough space when passing. ¼ of those involved also gave evidence that they were faced with road rage from drivers, and that this was a major cause of the incident.
Essex especially has a major problem, with the highest number of accident reports coming from our county. The majority of the 155 reported incidents here in Essex came on minor roads in rural areas. More than half of the horses involved were experienced in riding on roads more than once a week too, putting the blame squarely on the drivers and their refusal to slow down and allow space.
The amount of death involved in this study, both of riders and horses, is completely unacceptable, especially when you consider how simple they could have been to avoid. The BHS is asking drivers to consider the following measures when approaching a horse and rider:
- Slow down to a maximum speed of 15mph, regardless of the road
- Only when it is safe to do so, pass the horse wide and slowly. You must be at least a small car’s width away from the horse
- Drive slowly away from the horse until suitably out of range.
If you are still unsure how exactly to put these measures into practise, then click here to watch a safety video from the BHS.
Horse safety should be always be on a drivers mind. Ultimately, the decision is a simple one:
Dead? Or dead slow? Your choice..