Horse riding accidents on the road
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I seem to be hearing about more and more accidents on the road involving horses recently. Many horse riders, myself included, are out enjoying the weather when it is dry. That includes hacking out, but to get to the quieter lanes and bridleways from our yard, we have no choice but to ride a short distance on quite busy roads.
The British Horse Society have for some time been keeping records of road accidents involving horses, and they are now launching a campaign to advise car drivers as to how to behave when they see horses on the road.
The negative comments from some car drivers on social media sites does amaze me – comments like horses shouldn't be on the road anyway or why can't the horses stay in the fields where they belong? are commonplace. I see those on both sides of the discussion getting extremely fired up.
The Highway Code
The Highway Code already deals with this really, advising driver to pass horses leaving a wide berth and at a slow pace, and to be fair when I am riding on the roads, I would say that most do. I always try to thank those drivers with a wave of the hand and a 'thank you' and usually get a smile or wave in return.
But there will always be some who are just in too much of a hurry or just don't think. Only recently I was riding my horse behind two others. We were in single file, and on a left hand bend. A car driver decided he couldn't wait behind us for literally a few seconds and started to overtake us. Yes, they passed us wide and slow – but on a blind left hand bend! A car coming in the opposite direction, thankfully not too fast, had to stop and wait to avoid a head on collision.
Accidents on the road
And I read about an awful incident recently where a horse's bridle got caught on the wing mirror of a bus and it was dragged along the road Commercial drivers really should be even more aware of the damages on the basis that they send so much more time on the road.
No horse rider wants to be out on busy roads and we would always much rather be in fields or on bridleways. But those are few and far between in most places. Some people seem to be under the impression that all the fields you can see in the countryside are accessible to ride on – if only that were true! Instead, the vast majority are privately owned and most of us aren't lucky enough to have access to land such as the New Forest or South Downs on our doorstep.
My fellow riders and I take all possible precautions – our hi viz outfits on riders and horses can be seen for miles! I never ride out alone and we always take a mobile phone. Often we have a walker with us as well. That seems to help, as whilst some drivers seem prepared to get close to a horse, they don’t want to take the same risk with a human being.
If you have any questions about horse riding accidents please contact a member of our specialist team.
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