Early hopes of Newmarket road safety improvements for horses and riders

  • Discussions over upgrading crossings following accidents and near-misses on Newmarket’s roads spell hope for improving the safety of horses and riders in the town.

    The Jockey Club’s training grounds executive Lindsay Devin spoke at Newmarket Town Council’s planning committee and community and leisure service committee meeting on 10 January about improving road crossings and a horse walk.

    Improvements of the crossings at St Mary’s Square and Bury Road were raised, as was the Rayes Lane horse walk.

    The Newmarket Journal reported that there was discussion of new surfacing at St Mary’s Square, as well as road marking warning of the crossing, new railings, and flashing warning signs activated by riders in Rowley Drive and Mill Hill. Improvements to the horse walk at Rayes Lane, making it safer for riders and for the pedestrians that use the pavement that runs parallel, were also discussed.

    While this is an early step in any process to improve the crossings and horse walk, news of upgrades was welcomed by the town council and campaigners.

    Rider Rosie Margarson, whose sister Katie was hit by a car while using the horse crossing at St Mary’s Square, told H&H it is a “step in the right direction”.

    “I’ve only played a very small part in it, Lindsay at the Jockey Club has been banging on the door for years,” she said.

    Rosie is a vocal campaigner for horse and rider safety, lobbying for changes to the driving test and sharing the body-cam footage she captures on her daily rides to highlight the realities of the dangers riders face in Newmarket.

    The videos include countless near-misses at crossings, and Rosie said she hopes the clips give the public – and decision-makers – a “first-hand” understanding of what horses and riders experience on roads.

    “I feel like we are getting through,” she said. “It’s a great start to 2022!”

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