DEAD? Or dead slow?
This is the question being asked by the British Horse Society (BHS) in a new road safety campaign.
The organisation is calling for drivers to slow to 15mph when passing horses.
New statistics revealed by the BHS show that in the five years since its horse accidents website was launched, more than 2,000 incidents have been reported.
Of these, 36 involved the death of a rider and in 181 cases, a horse died or was put to sleep as a result of its injuries.
Three-quarters of accidents occurred as vehicles passed horses without allowing enough space.
The launch of the BHS campaign, Dead Slow, comes after a number of high-profile petitions calling for greater protection for horses and riders on the road.
BHS director of policy Lee Hackett said: “We are asking drivers to slow down to 15mph when they see a horse on the road.
“A lot of people aren’t sure how to safely pass a horse when driving, and so we have produced a video showing exactly how it should be done.
“It’s worth remembering that these statistics are just the accidents reported to us, there will be countless others. Almost everyone who rides horses can recount a story about a time they had a near miss on the roads.
“We are campaigning for legislative change, but that can take a long time. That is why we are asking for this instant change in behaviour from drivers.”
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Kevin Clinton, Head of Road Safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: “All drivers should be aware that they may come across horse riders at any time, especially in rural areas. If you see one, slow right down as you approach and pass it slowly and smoothly, without revving your engine or sounding your horn. If there’s not room to pass it safely, wait until there is.”
To report an accident, click here.