Road safety organisation GEM Motoring Assist is adding its voice to an equestrian road safety campaign by urging drivers to ‘think horse and rider’ on journeys. The plea follows the news that 36 riders were killed in road incidents over the past five years.
GEM supports the recently-launched ‘Dead Slow’ campaign from the British Horse Society, which asks drivers to a maximum of 15mph when they meet a horse and rider on the road.
GEM chief executive David Williams comments: “It’s all about being willing to concede a bit of time and space to a road user who needs it. Horses and riders form part of the complex mix of traffic on our roads. But horses are live animals and can be unpredictable, despite the best efforts of the most experienced rider.
Williams added: “Many people may not know how to pass a horse on the road. But there are some excellent resources available, including the new BHS video and GEM’s own safety leaflet. Both of these offer simple tips that can boost driver confidence and lead to a safer road environment for drivers, horses and riders.
“Sadly there are too many selfish drivers unwilling to slow down or create some safety space for the horse and rider. GEM urges them to reflect for a few moments on the risks they pose – to themselves and to others – and to think again before deliberately driving too fast or too close when passing a horse and rider.”
GEM offers simple tips for riders and drivers, in an attempt to reduce confusion and conflict on the roads:
- Drivers, give horses as much room as the road allows. Bear in mind that horses and riders may be aware of hazards that you haven’t seen or heard.
- Look out for a rider’s signals, especially if you are being asked to slow down or stop.
- Don’t accelerate as you go past a horse, or immediately after you have passed it.
- Riders, make sure you and your horse can be seen easily. Fluorescent leg wraps for the horse are particularly effective.
- Ride in single file when traffic needs to pass, thus ensuring there is plenty of space as cars go past.
- A ‘thank you’ to a driver for an act of courtesy goes a long way to ensuring that the next horse and rider they meet will get the same treatment.