A new report by The British Horse Society recommends reducing the national speed limit on roads where there is frequent equestrian activity.
The report, ‘Conspicuity of horses and riders on the road’ conducted by Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) for the BHS, was commissioned due to a lack of evidence-based research currently available about what horse riders should do to protect themselves.
The BHS reports that in the last year there has been a 29 per cent increase in accidents involving horses on Britain’s road. Since the BHS launched its horse accidents website more than 2,510 incidents have been reported to them; 222 horses have died and 38 riders have lost their lives.
In the last year:
• 81% of incidents occurred due to the driver not allowing enough room between the vehicle and the horse
• One in five incidents resulted in the car colliding with the horse
• Almost 40% of riders were subjected to road rage
The charity behind the successful ‘Dead or Dead Slow’ campaign, which educates drivers on how to pass horses safely on roads, conducted the research to help lobby Government and to advise riders on the best way to be seen when riding out.
The report also recommends that riders should wear LED lights, ideally in a pattern that highlights the body of the horse and rider, along with bright and reflective clothing, and that high visibility should always be worn.
Alan Hiscox, Director of Safety at the BHS: “We want to reduce the number of incidents involving riders and horses on the road. Roads are getting busier, and we have seen an increase in incidents in the last year, something has to be done. This report recommends reducing the national speed limit on rural roads, where there is frequent equestrian activity; it could save the lives of both the horse and rider, and other vulnerable road users.”