The British Horse Society (BHS) is urging drivers to “Look out for Laura” as part of a campaign aiming to improve attitudes to riders, and reduce the number of horses killed on our roads.
The BHS has produced two videos that aim to “humanise” riders, in hopes of changing the way drivers look at and empathise with them. The films feature Laura, a nurse, and firefighter Julie, who explain that they ride to de-stress after work, and why they often have to do so on the roads.
Both riders thank those drivers who pass them according to the BHS Dead Slow road safety campaign advice, which has since been incorporated into the Highway Code.
“This campaign has been informed by considerable research carried out by Nottingham Trent University, in collaboration with the BHS and Cycling UK, with funding from the Road Safety Trust, which is dedicated to achieving zero deaths and serious injuries on UK roads,” a BHS spokesman said.
“It demonstrates that respondents who were exposed to safety videos which adopted a humanised approach significantly improved how they passed vulnerable road users, giving a greater passing distance and slowing down their speed.
“This change in attitude is more important than ever and will help ensure more drivers are adhering to the BHS Dead Slow campaign messages.”
BHS safety director Alan Hiscox said the number of incidents involving horses on the roads is still “far too high”.
“It is, therefore, vital that we continue to urge drivers to be more considerate when passing horses and aware of how to do this safely,” he said.
“Through our own research we have been able to demonstrate that the ‘Look out for Laura’ campaign has been successful in changing attitudes towards horse riders, with nearly 40% of respondents stating that the videos have changed their opinion of vulnerable road users.
“We continue to work hard to change people’s perceptions of horse riders and to educate more riders about the people underneath the riding hats. It’s an essential message that will help to reduce the significant number of horses being killed on Britain’s roads.”
Cycling UK head of campaigns Duncan Dollimore added that Cycling UK’s long-held opinion is that road safety awareness campaigns need to encourage drivers to think about road users as someone else’s relative, partner, friend or colleague.
“This research shows that humanising horse riders and cyclists is a far more effective approach, and it’s crucial that future road safety campaigns reflect this to enhance empathy and understanding of anyone travelling from A to B in a different way,” he said.
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