The BHS is asking riders to lobby their MPs for last-minute amendments to the new Highway Code, which could be in force by the end of this summer.

The BHS suggested amendments to the new Highway Code to the Secretary of State back in February 2006. But according to BHS director of access, safety and welfare Mark Weston, some have apparently been ignored.

Unless MPs bow to public pressure and pass further amendments, the Code will forbid riding two horses abreast on narrow and busy roads and when riding around bends. It will also exclude horses from all cycle tracks.

Mark Weston told H&H: “There can be many valid reasons for riding two abreast: groups of riders, nervous horses, novice riders, and defensive riding on winding country lanes where there is insufficient room for a car to pass a single horse safely.”

Breaches of the Highway Code could potentially be used in evidence in any court proceedings under the Traffic Acts in order to establish liability in an accident.

Mr Weston added: “There are many cycle tracks which have been specifically designed for use by horse riders, and the loss of these would be very serious for those who rely on them.”

He pointed out that a barrister had sent to the Department of Transport a copy of the Cycle Tracks Act 1984 which states that horse riders cannot be prosecuted for riding on a cycle track created under that Act.

The BHS has also lobbied for a clause to be included in the Code which advises against removing a rider’s helmet in the wake of an accident. A similar clause regarding motorcyclists’ helmets is already included.