Warwickshire Road Safety Partnership provides advice to help road users and horse riders #ShareTheSpace safely

Warwickshire Road Safety Partnership is providing advice to help road users and horse riders to #ShareTheSpace safely on Warwickshire’s roads as part of a national Vulnerable Road Users campaign between 6 -19 September 2021.

If you don’t live in a rural area, it’s not every day you may have to pass a horse on the roads and WRSP has teamed up with The British Horse Society, Warwickshire Police Rural Crime Team and Warwickshire Horse Watch to offer the road safety advice in the form of tips below.

Carol Cotterill, Rural Crime Team, Warwickshire Police and Chair of Warwickshire Horse Watch said “Please remember horses are large and powerful animals and if something like a speeding car or a barking dog frightens a horse, its natural reaction will be to get away from whatever scared it. This will be sudden and could take them straight into the path of your vehicle. This is why it is so important to please look out for horses and #ShareTheSpace, slow down and give them plenty of room to help keep everyone safe.”

Riders can report incidents of dangerous or irresponsible driving to the police.  One way to do this is by submitting headcam footage of dangerous or careless driving including vehicles passing too close or too fast to Operation Snap. 

You can also report incidents to The British Horse Society who monitor horse related incidents across the country.

Alan Hiscox, Director of Safety at The British Horse Society said “Most road incidents reported to us involve vehicles passing horses too close or too fast. We urge horse riders to use our new Horse i app to easily report any horse related road incidents to the BHS. This makes sure we can continue to monitor and help improve horse and rider road safety through awareness campaigns such as our Dead Slow campaign. We know that only 1 in 10 people report incidents to us. Increasing the number of incidents logged with the BHS is a key priority for us in order to create a safer environment for equestrians, as we can act more effectively with better data.”

During and after the campaign there are a number of activities planned including visits to Bubbenhall Livery yard (Bubbenhall) on 17 September and Oak Farm Livery yard (Baginton) on 18 September to talk to riders about a range of issues including road safety. Also equestrians are invited to Rugby Riding Club on Tues 21 September, to hear a guest speaker from the British Horse Society and to receive some great stay safe tips and crime prevention advice from Warwickshire Horse Watch and the Rugby Rural Safer-Neighbourhood Policing Team. There is also a free tack marking security event on Sat 25 Sept with priority appointments for those attending the 21 Sept event.

With nights starting to draw in as we move into autumn making visibility more challenging, to help counter this, WRSP is supplying partners and local police with high vis items to offer to riders and other road users. 

Tips for drivers passing horses

  • Slow down to a maximum of 15mph and be ready to stop
  • Be patient – DO NOT sound your horn or rev your engine
  • Watch out for signals from the rider to slow down or stop
  • Pass the horse wide and slow, allowing at least a car’s width if possible
  • Accelerate gently once you’ve passed the horse

Additional tips for cyclists passing horses

  • Horses have a blind spot directly behind them and therefore cyclists should slow down and alert riders to their presence by calling out and asking if it is safe to pass
  • Whether passing from the front or back, please slow down and pass wide when safe to do so.

Additional tips for bikers passing horses

  • Motorbikes can seem to appear from nowhere, are often noisy and can alarm horses if they approach from behind due to the horse’s blind spot.   This means horses sometimes react to them more than other vehicles.
  • Please slow down, and keep your engine as quiet as possible as you pass.
  • Please be prepared to stop and turn your engine off.

Please remember that

  • Many horse riders are children or teenagers
  • Horse riders sometimes ride in double file to protect novice riders or nervous horses
  • Horses can be easily spooked, frightened, and can occasionally panic in traffic
  • Riders will generally smile, nod or thank drivers with a wave

Tips for passing horse and carriages

  • Treat a horse and carriage with as much respect as you would a horse and rider
  • Do not pass unless you can clearly see ahead and it is safe to do so
  • Slow down to 15mph or slower if needed.  Pass as wide as you would another car.
  • They are longer than a car so please don’t cut in too sharply after passing
  • Carriage drivers will use hand signals and position themselves in the road as a car would
  • Only start to pick up speed again when well past the horse, not the carriage as the horse wears blinkers (eye covers) so will hear you but not see you until you pass.

Road Safety tips for horse riders and carriage drivers

  • Ride with other, less nervous horses if you think your horse will be nervous of traffic
  • Be alert at all times, make eye contact with drivers, and thank those who make an effort to accommodate you
  • Wear hi viz and reflective equipment on both you and your horse
  • Let someone know where you are going and what time you expect to be back so they can raise the alarm if you fail to return in a reasonable time.
  • Carry a mobile phone for use in emergency, but remember it is not safe to use your phone whilst on the roads
  • Keep to the left and never ride more than two abreast and in single file on bends

More information on reporting incidents via Operation Snap can be found here https://www.warwickshire.police.uk/operationsnap

Please follow and like us on Facebook @WarwickshireRoadSafety and on Twitter @WarksRoadSafety or search #ShareTheSpace.   Please remember, we need your help to make our roads safer for everyone.

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