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Horse riders and road safety

Driving Tips

Not the time to be ‘horsing around’

Three different groups must be considered in terms of horse rider safety: horse riders, motorists or other road users, and horses themselves

The Facts

– Over the last five years (2010-2014), more than 610 horse riders and carriage drivers were involved in and sustained injury in a road traffic accident. [1]
– Horse riders represent a significant group of vulnerable road users and are involved in a number of accidents and near misses on the road. [2]
– In 2014, there were 115 reported horse rider casualties of all severities on public highways. Of these, 1 was fatal and 26 were seriously injured casualties. [3]
– Looking more broadly, passing too close to cyclist, horse rider or pedestrian’ was a reported contributory factor in 2,428 road accidents. Of these 1% were fatal, 15% were classed as serious and 84% were slight accidents. [4]
– Drivers and horse riders are not always aware of the same hazards in the road, and this may lead drivers to under-estimating the risk when encountering horses. [2]


The Advice

– Slow down to 15mph and be ready to stop if necessary
– Look out for riders’ signals to slow down or stop
– Be patient, don’t sound your horn or rev your engine
– Watch out for sudden movements, horses can be easily frightened and unpredictable
– Pass wide and slow when overtaking; giving the horse plenty of room. Don’t accelerate rapidly once you have passed them
– On roundabouts, horse riders will keep to the left within the roundabout until reaching their exit, when they will signal left. They will normally signal right only when approaching exits to the left they don’t intend to use

Sources [1] Road Safety Analysis, 2016 [2] Chapman and Musselwhite, 2011 [3] RSA, 2016 [4] DfT, 2012b

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