Police have released a video of a driver “hurtling” past a rider on the road in a plea for motorists to slow down for horses following a series of near misses.
Nottingham Police shared the clip which shows a driver ignoring rider Rachael Wilsey’s hand signals as she asked the vehicle to slow down on the B1403 by Misterton and Ginrley-on-the-Hill in June.
Rachael, who was riding her nine-year-old gelding Oscar, said she could tell the driver wasn’t slowing down from about 50 metres away.
“At the point of realising she wasn’t adjusting her driving at all, I put my arm out and slowly waved it up and down signalling for her to slow down. She didn’t respond and was completely oblivious,” she said.
“Drivers should pass a horse and rider at 15mph and leave at least a car’s width between their vehicle and the horse. We think this driver went past us at about 55mph. I drew breath and was just praying she would slow down. It was really frightening because you have no idea what your horse is going to do.”
Rachael added that non-horsey people don’t realise that horses can jump sideways, into the path of a vehicle or away from it.
“If a 660kg horse like Oscar jumps and lands on someone’s bonnet then it’s going to kill the driver. It was absolutely awful and I just wish drivers would slow down and be more responsible. It just takes 30 seconds to get past and I’d ask drivers not to accelerate until they have fully gone by a horse,” she said, adding it was the second bad experience she had that day.
“I have to go on the road to get to the bridleway. We had just left the yard when another driver came past too fast. James [Rachael’s husband] waved at him to slow down but he just shouted abuse out of his convertible.
“Oscar isn’t a spooky horse and he was very good on the road until last year when a truck sped up before letting us past. It went through a big puddle and the sound of that scared him. That time he leapt away from the vehicle. It took about two months with a semi-professional rider before he could go back onto a road and wouldn’t jump.”
PC Tanya Hodgkiss of Nottinghamshire Police said it is a “potentially fatal disaster” for all parties if a vehicle and horse have a collision.
“It’s important drivers are reminded that horses are allowed on the roads. The safer neighbourhood team at East Bassetlaw has received several reports of vehicles passing horses far too closely and at speed that are legitimately using the rural country roads to access bridleways.
“I would ask motorists to please bear in mind that horses are extremely nervous animals and to please give enough room when passing a rider. We all need to share the highways and have respect for each other. This means thinking about those who might be more vulnerable than you and altering your speed accordingly.”
Have you been involved in an incident on the road with your horse?
Incidents should be reported to the police and the British Horse Society (BHS). The society uses the data to lobby the Government, support safety campaigns and identify hotspots and recurring trends.
In March this year the BHS launched the free Horse i app which enables equestrians to quickly and easily submit details of incidents that have negatively affected their safety. This includes any problems with a road or off-road user, slippery road surfaces, dogs, low-flying aircrafts, or drones. The app records details including location, date and time, injuries, vet treatment, and whether agencies such as the police or civil aviation authority are involved.
“An incident is classed as an unplanned event that has resulted in a human or horse feeling unsafe, for example road rage, or that has the potential to cause injury (a near-miss), or that has already caused injury,” said a BHS spokesman.
“An incident report can be submitted via the time-saving tool in less than three minutes, although there is also the facility for the user to add in any supporting detail if they wish.”
The app can be downloaded for free via the Apple app store, or Google Play.
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Riders can report any problems with a road or off-road user, slippery road surfaces, dogs, low-flying aircraft, nuisance drones or
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