Road safety campaign to protect horse riders

editorial image

New statistics have revealed the rising danger on Scotland’s roads for horse riders.

Now a leading equestrian charity has launched the Dead Slow road safety campaign to urge motorists to hit the brakes when passing horses.

The British Horse Society set up a dedicated website in 2010 where road-related horse incidents could be reported.

Since then, there have been 2000 reports of road accidents in the UK involving horses, according to the BHS.

Of these, 36 riders were killed and 181 horses died from their injuries or had to be put to sleep. More than 75 per cent of the accidents happened because the driver didn’t give the horse enough room when passing.

And 60 per cent happened between 10am and 3pm, with accidents most commonly occurring in June.

The majority of accidents were reported on a minor road and in rural areas.

Riders have also complained of experiencing road rage from motorists.

Lee Hackett, BHS director of policy, said: “We are asking drivers to slow down to 15mph when they see a horse on the road.

“A lot of people aren’t sure how to safely pass a horse when driving. So we have produced a video showing exactly how it should be done.

“It’s worth remembering these statistics are just the accidents which have been reported to us.

‘‘There will be countless others.

“Almost everyone who rides horses can recount a story about a time they had a near miss on the roads.”

The charity will also be asking equestrians to ensure they thank any drivers who pass them responsibly.

Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: “Horses are large, powerful animals and can easily panic and bolt if startled.

“This is dangerous for the horse, the rider and other road users.

“If you see one, slow right down as you approach and pass it slowly and smoothly.”

Horse accidents can be reported to the BHS via its website www.horseaccidents.org.uk.