Rider sets up petition to improve road safety

  • After “one too many near misses” an H&H reader has set up a campaign to raise awareness of horse and rider safety on the road.

    Stacey Stephenson wants a national advert — similar to Think Bike — to run on national television themed “Think Horse and Rider”.

    She told H&H that she believes some drivers aren’t aware that horses “aren’t machines” and so has set up a petition to persuade the government to create an advert.

    So far more than 2,000 people have signed up in support.

    “Drivers need to be advised on how to pass us when we are out on the roads,” she said. “The roads are big enough for us all to share and I hope this might educate people.

    “Ultimately I’d like to stand up for myself and fellow riders and their horses to put a stop to reckless driving when passing.”

    Stacey decided to start up the campaign after too many close calls.

    “I, like many others, have experienced incidents I’d rather forget,” she added. “Although I came out physically unscathed I know it could have been a lot worse, had the driver been travelling faster or my horse been less sensible.

    “I’m lucky that although my mare is a hot-headed chestnut, when on the roads she is very tolerant and we fortunately managed to get out of harm’s way.”

    Stacey added she had contacted top riders and had so far received support from Oliver Townend, Sharon Hunt, Alex Hua Tian, Emily llewellyn and Matt Ryan.

    She has also written to the Transport Secretary and is “awaiting a reply with baited breath”.

    Lee Hackett from the British Horse Society (BHS) told H&H the organisation “supports any effort to improve horse and rider safety”.

    He added: “It is important that we all do what we can to raise awareness of the dangers faced by equestrians on our roads.

    “Given how close we are to a general election and thus a potential change in government it is difficult to predict the political climate of even the near future.

    “The BHS will resume campaigning for horse and rider safety with a renewed vigour as soon as the new term begins. What is unquestionable is that the data we collect at www.horseaccidents.org.uk proves that we have work to do to keep our horses and riders safe on the roads.

    “It is vital that people report accidents and near misses to the website as this is the hard data we need to really make a difference, particularly at government level.”

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