A 10-year-old girl was taken to hospital at the weekend (Saturday 6 June) after a group of cyclists spooked her pony.
Grace Burton was riding with her mother and two friends in single file through the village of Teddington, Glos, on Saturday morning when around 20-25 cyclists approached from the other side of the road and spooked the horses.
Gloucestershire police was told three of the horses bolted and one stayed with its rider.
“The cyclists did not slow down and rushed through spooking the horses,” one of the riders told the police.
Grace Burton fell off and an ambulance was called to take her to the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital in nearby Cheltenham.
According to a press report in the Gloucestershire Echo, the young girl suffered a dislocated knee.
Her father, Chris Burton said the cyclists were riding five or six abreast at estimated speeds of up to 20mph.
“It’s an issue in the village. Most cyclists are considerate but there are some who give everyone a bad name. If it had been a car driver that just drove off after an accident, they would breaking the law,” Mr Burton told the Echo.
He said cyclists need to “be more careful and need to know they have a duty of care to people around them.”
After the incident a couple of the cyclists did stop to help look after Grace until her mother was able to return.
Mr Burton was worried the incident would cause his daughter to lose confidence in going out hacking, but she has made a full recovery and was riding again yesterday (Tuesday 9 June) — although stayed on the lead rein.
Mr Burton is meeting the cyclists from the Cheltenham and Country Club tomorrow (Thursday 11 June) to “discuss ways of stopping this happening again”.
“We are aiming to improve safety, not have a battle,” he told H&H.
Sheila Hardy, the British Horse Society’s head of safety said: “All road users have a responsibility to think of each other’s needs. This includes being aware that horses may be on the road and may be startled by large groups or cycles are ridden too close or too fast.”
“Both cyclists and riders share similar risks on the road and the BHS has made great headway with cycling bodies in improving road safety for all parties, including producing a code of conduct for both riders and cyclists. Unfortunately, however, incidents do still happen. We’d encourage anyone who is involved in an incident or near-miss to report it at www.horseaccidents.org.uk.”
Martyn Brunt, routes and networks manager at Sustrans, the cycling campaigning charity said: “There are a number of tips that we would recommend to people on bikes when they are approaching a horse rider, including slowing down, letting them know that they are approaching in plenty of time by shouting ahead and giving plenty of room when passing.
“We would also advise people cycling to give horse riders the right of way on bridleways to ensure everyone can enjoy the countryside safely.”