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New film to help riders and mountain bikers share the countryside safely

Two organisations have come together to create an educational film to highlight best practice to riders and mountain bikers when sharing the countryside.

The film, commissioned and funded by the British Horse Society (BHS) and Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland (DMBinS), with funding also from Scottish Cycling and the European Community Scottish Borders LAG Leader 2012-2020 programme, stars equestrians Persia Bhatia and Lesley Walker alongside professional mountain bikers Reece Wilson and Jessie-May Morgan and demonstrates how the different riders should interact with each other responsibly.

A spokesman for DMBinS said with the number of riders and mountain bikers increasing, there is a need for both groups to understand how they can “best co-habit” in shared space.

“With narrow trails exiting on to shared forest roads and increasing interactions on shared paths and the wider countryside, it was recognised that there was a need to educate both sets of riders, to how we should behave so we can all enjoy our shared spaces together,” he said.

BHS Scotland national manager Helene Mauchlen said the society is “very pleased” to be involved with the making of the film.

“We applaud DMBinS for taking a proactive approach to something that could have become a major issue for our members,” she said.

“We hope our members and the mountain bike community are able to share this video and help educate everyone on how we can all responsibly enjoy the outdoors together.”

DMBinS head Graeme McLean said it had been “fantastic” to see the growing number of mountain bikers using forests in Scotland but that there have been incidents where mountain bikers have been unsure how to react to or safely pass horses.

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“We hope by showing the perspective from both the mountain biker and the horse rider we can all learn something and go on enjoying what we love to do – safer and for the benefit of all concerned,” he said.

The video advises horse riders should:

  • Communicate with mountain bikers clearly
  • Let them pass
  • Say thank you

Mountain bikers should:

  • Slow down and look before exiting trails
  • Stop and ask riders for instruction on how to pass
  • Say thank you
  • Avoid passing silently as this can spook a horse

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