Renewed call to improve road safety after near miss at same crossing where horse was hit by car

  • A near miss at the same Newmarket crossing where a horse was hit by a car four months ago has sparked fresh calls to improve road safety in the town.

    Rosie Margarson caught the incident on her body camera, which she uses to document her daily rides on Caribbean Spring (“Bean”).

    On Wednesday morning, her father, trainer George Margarson, was leading the string aboard 24-year-old Atavus when the pair had a close call on the horse crossing in St Mary’s Square. The pair had stepped out into the road, when a car pulled out of the junction opposite. Mr Margarson halted and moved Atavus out of the way of the oncoming car, which passed within feet of the pair.

    The incident came a day after Rosie captured footage of a different car, at the same crossing, that did not stop as the string was preparing to step into the road.

    Rosie, who has been pushing for improvements to be made to that junction, told H&H that the crossing is “just not obvious enough” for drivers.

    “When the woman [who had the close call on Tuesday] realised, she was incredibly shocked. But she shouldn’t have been shocked, it should be blindingly obvious that there could be horses there,” she said.

    She explained that people pull out of the junction, trying to beat the oncoming traffic, and don’t expect to see horses there.

    “You have cars coming at you from three ways – as a rider you have to have eyes everywhere,” she said.

    “If anything, it’s got worse. Two cars have piled into the railings there and they’ve not been replaced properly.”

    Rosie said she has been told there is not a sign suitable to be put there, and while she understands work may be ongoing behind the scenes, the lack of action is frustrating.

    Her sister Katie and the horse she was riding, Luna Wish, were hit by a car at the same crossing in May.

    “I thought after Katie was hit, that would be enough to finally push them into doing something. It’s ridiculous,” she said.

    Rosie has reported the incidents to Suffolk County Council and on the British Horse Society (BHS) road safety reporting app. She also strongly encourages anyone in racing to do the same, as statistics help strengthen cases for road safety improvements.

    “In my mind, we need something there so drivers understand they have to stop – some flashing lights, almost like a zebra crossing, without the stripes on the road,” she said, adding that it needs to be something takes both drivers and riders into account, keeping all parties safe.

    “Red lights there would gridlock that section of town and that is going to annoy the residents – we are trying really to think of everyone.”

    In May, Suffolk County Council told H&H that the authority is “aware of the challenges around horse crossings, particularly in Newmarket” and that it was working with the Newmarket Horsemen’s Group and the Jockey Club “on a programme to review and upgrade crossings where appropriate”.

    H&H contacted the council following these latest near-misses to ask for an update.

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