The British Horse Society launch a campaign last week to raise awareness about passing horse riders safely on the road – See their site here. This is made all the more important with the closure of bridle ways and increased number of roads and increased traffic on the road.
It seems to have had a positive effect, because I was on a hack last week and noticed an increased number of drivers slowing down to a crawl and passing me as if I were twelve foot wide. I even had a car trail behind me despite the road ahead being straight and clear – I had to halt to initiate the overtake as I refuse to wave drivers past me thus making me responsible for any ensuing accidents. The passed me, and I have to say it was a welcome relief to see so many courteous drivers.
The BHS even produced a video explaining to non equestrians how to safely pass horses on the road – Here – which is probably very useful to the wider social media family. It’s just down to us equestrians to spread the word.
The BHS will be aiming for some legislative changes, which take a long time, but also for footage collected by headcams and tailcams to have some weight in any legal disputes. However, educating Joe Public and giving them a goal of passing horses at 15mph should help reduce accident statistics. 15mph is surprisingly difficult to get down to if you suddenly meet a horse and rider, but it is not difficult to maintain that speed should you be passing three or four horses. Hopefully we shall see a difference on the roads.
One article said “almost everyone who rides horses will be able to recount a story about a time when they had a near miss on the roads”. That’s true, I know several horror stories from friends. However, let’s turn it around and applaud the courteous drivers.
Like the bin lorry driver who didn’t get too close to me this morning, and waited patiently whilst I found somewhere to hide. Or the amazing farmer who had miles of blue piping in the bucket of his tractor who reversed back up the hill until reaching a t-junction, where I was going, and turned his engine off until I’d passed. Does anyone else know a driver who is respectful and courteous enough to go out of their way to pass you, wait for you, help you – anything?