Warwickshire Police issued the reminder on its Facebook page in a post that has been shared more than 12,000 times. It also posted the advice on Twitter.
“Please be aware that horse riders sometimes ride in double file to protect novice riders or nervous horses, are often able to see and hear further ahead than a motorist, and may signal to you,” said a spokesman for the force.
“The riders may be children or young people. Horses are powerful animals that are easily frightened and can panic in traffic. Please slow down and give them plenty of room when overtaking.”
The topic of riding two abreast can be a point of debate among riders and drivers, with some claiming it is not allowed, despite the Highway Code stating it is legal to do so.
“Riders should look to the Highway Code for guidance on riding safely which advises riding no more than two abreast and travelling in single file where road conditions or traffic require you to,” said Alan Hiscox, British Horse Society director of safety.
“Ultimately it is the decision of the rider to make, as riding two abreast may be appropriate if you are escorting a young or inexperienced horse or rider, so they can be on the inside. It is important to educate drivers that they may approach horse riders riding two abreast for these reasons, and I’m pleased to see the police doing this.”
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“There would now be an absolute definition of how road users should pass horses”
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Debbie Smith, road safety campaigner and founder of the Pass Wide and Slow group, told H&H it was “very good” to see Warwickshire Police’s post.
“Riding two abreast is not something many people highlight so it’s definitely something that needs to be said,” she said.
“As riders we get branded rude and ignorant for riding in double file so I’m pleased to see the police reminding drivers that we are allowed to do this. I think drivers just feel you’re getting in their way – it’s easier to overtake and shoot past you if you’re riding in single file but riding two abreast they can’t do that.”
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