Rider who fractured skull in road accident leads safety campaign

  • A rider who fractured her skull and whose horse suffered a serious injury when he was hit by a car has sparked a campaign with the aim of improving safety on the roads.

    Joanne Heys, of Tockholes, Lancashire, was riding her 17.2 Irish draught Max last November when the incident occurred.

    “We were just going round the block on a quick ride,” she told H&H.

    “I was with a girl from the yard, on a bridleway off the main road, and for some reason, her pony spun and bolted off –  and my horse thought: ‘I’m going too’.

    “I wasn’t too worried but then Max seemed to get faster and faster. I had no control, we were coming to the main road, and I just had to make the decision to get off.

    “I lifted my leg to get off, and that’s the last thing I remember.”

    Joanne suffered a slight fracture to her skull when she fell, while Max ran into the road and was hit by a car.

    He suffered a knee injury and spent a week in equine hospital but both have since recovered and Joanne is riding Max again.


    “Then came the idea of the campaign,” said Joanne, who stressed that the driver involved in her accident was not at fault.

    “I’ve been riding round here a long time and whether the accident made me more aware or things have got worse, I don’t know. About 90% of drivers are fine, but it’s the 10% who aren’t.

    “I want to start making people more aware of horses and how to pass them, as I think sometimes people don’t know what to do, and panic.”

    Joanne approached her MP, Jake Berry, who is backing her campaign and has helped organise an event in Tockholes on 15 October, to which village residents, mounted police and the British Horse Society (BHS) have been invited – but also driving instructors and motorcyclists.

    “If we make even two people aware, we’ve done something,” Joanne added.

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    Mr Berry said: “I am hosting this meeting to discuss with local residents their concerns. I have invited local driving instructors and driving groups to attend and the BHS will be sharing information on how both drivers and riders can improve their safety on the roads.”

    The MP also intends to raise the issue in parliament.

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