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‘A significant result for riders’: proposed Highway Code changes include strong guidance on passing horses

Riders are urged to have their say on proposed changes to the Highway Code, aimed at improving the safety of vulnerable road users.

The government has launched a consultation on the amendments, which are specifically designed to benefit riders, walkers and cyclists.

The main changes include creating a hierarchy of road users, to ensure those who are capable of causing most harm have the most responsibility to reduce the threat they may pose to others.

Others clarify and give guidance on issues concerning walkers and cyclists, but another major change covers establishing guidance on safe speeds and distances when overtaking riders and carriage drivers.

Have your say in the consultation here

British Horse Society (BHS) director of safety Alan Hiscox, who has been running the BHS’s Dead? Or Dead Slow road safety campaign for four years, told H&H this focus on riders is very significant.

“I’m really chuffed,” he said. “I hope riders and carriage drivers will see this as a really positive step.”

H&H reported in November 2018 that in its announcing of the Highway Code review, the government had said it wanted to “empower cyclists and pedestrians”, but did not mention riders.

MPs intervened, and the transport minister said horses would be included, which Mr Hiscox described as a “watershed moment”. He has since been on the stakeholders’ focus group for the review, working with other organisations on the code in relation to vulnerable road users.

“Riders and carriage drivers now have the opportunity to look at the proposals, and put comments on them,” he said.

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“I’m really excited by this. I think there’s a lot of good stuff in there for riders, including the Dead Slow messaging, and there’s really strong guidance to drivers as to how they should pass horses safely.

“This is a really significant result; I can’t dress enough how important this is for riders.”

Mr Hiscox cited joint working with cycling and walking groups, including Cycling UK, for better proposals for all vulnerable road users.

The consultation is open until 27 October.

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