Following the news that the annual Pass Wide and Slow event has 125 rides planned around the country on 10 May, H&H garners reaction from the campaign’s founder, a motorcyclist and the British Horse Society’s head of safety...
Hundreds of equestrians will take part in awareness rides across the country aiming to educate drivers on passing horses safely — with support from fellow road users.
The Pass Wide and Slow (PWAS) road safety campaign will hold the annual event on 10 May with 125 rides planned, up from 53 in 2019.
PWAS founder Debbie Smith told H&H the number of planned rides was “incredible”.
“In 2016 we only had 20. This year it really seems to have taken off and it’s because everybody feels the same; there are thousands of houses being built, roads are getting busier and if we don’t do something we’ll get pushed off the roads eventually,” she said.
“The rides are about raising awareness in drivers on how to pass horses safely, and reminding riders to wear hi-vis and head cameras, be polite and keep themselves safe — it’s a two-part thing and has to be about awareness all round.”
Last year rides were supported by walkers, cyclists and mounted police forces including Gloucestershire, West Yorkshire and West Mercia, and this year it is hoped some motorcyclists will be joining in.
“Bikers are vulnerable like us and have similar problems — drivers don’t always look out for them. It would be lovely to have motorbikes with us at the rides; it can be about both of us,” said Debbie.
Wakefield-based motorcyclist Gary Baker joined the PWAS group after he saw a Facebook post from a rider thanking a trail bike group for stopping and turning their engines off.
Mr Baker told H&H it’s important groups work together.
“On trail bikes some people think we shouldn’t be on byways, and horse riders seem to have the same problem, so it’s about sticking up for each other,” he said.
“I’m speaking with the Trail Riders Fellowship, a national organisation that promotes trail riding, and we’ve asked what riders want us to do when we come across them — I want to get that message out to as many bike groups as I can. I plan to join an awareness ride near me and I’ll be making people aware of them and asking others if they want to join.”
The British Horse Society’s director of safety Alan Hiscox told H&H rides can be an excellent way of raising awareness, adding that “we’re all working together” for safer roads.
“It’s great to see the campaigning the PWAS group has been doing continues to grow, and this is evident in the number of rides that will be taking place,” he said.
“Working with other vulnerable road users is really important and another way to get the message out there that we can all share the roads. It is important to remember that if we’re asking drivers to apply to the Highway Code that equestrians do the same.”
Individuals who want to get involved should join the Pass Wide & Slow Facebook group where they will find details of all the rides planned, or email email@example.com for details on creating a ride.
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