Riders are being urged to sign a government petition campaigning for laws to protect horses being ridden on the roads.
The petition, set up by Debbie Smith from Cornwall who created the Facebook group Pass Wide and Slow, has until 2 November to reach the required 100,000 signatures in order for it to be considered for debate at parliament.
Debbie told H&H: “The roads are getting worse and drivers are getting more impatient – they see us as a nuisance. Generally there’s got to have been an accident happen before we can take any action which seems crazy. If a horse is left dying on the road nothing is done, unless a rider has been hurt and taken to hospital.
“We want the petition to bring in laws to protect horses being ridden on the roads and I hope we can get it into parliament. Personally I want to see a change in the Highway Code so it becomes law to abide by a rider’s stop and slow down signals — I think that is one of the most important laws we should have. If we can have the power to ask a car to stop or slow dow it’s going to stop a lot of accidents.”
Debbie, who hacks out with her daughter around five times a week, successfully got a similar petition to parliament two years ago.
“It got discussed but at the time the transport minister wasn’t very compliant with what we wanted and so I decided to start another petition this year,” she said.
“Our aim is to keep getting attention, keep going to parliament and keep getting it discussed and hopefully at some point they’ll realise we’re not just going to go away. That’s all you can do, keep drumming away.”
The petition currently has 14,191 signatures.
“It’s a short time limit on getting those remaining signatures so we need a lot more in the next couple of weeks,” said Debbie.
Take advance of our sale on Horse & Hound magazine subscriptions today
BHS cautions rural motorists to watch out for riders on our roads
“I just got mad out riding one day and thought, ‘I’m going to change the law’”
“There’s so many people that ride out on the roads, we need them to read it and sign it – not think ‘I’ll do it later’ and forget. We all ride out on the roads and we all want safe riding.”
Debbie said she wants riders to keep reporting incidents on the roads to the police.
“As part of the Pass Wide and Slow Facebook group we want to encourage riders to wear cameras because we have to get that evidence and send it in to the police, it’s the only way they’ll take action. If we don’t do anything we’ll be seen as unimportant. We have to make it an important issue and keep on at them.”
For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.