Police have teamed up with riders in Lancashire in a bid to improve road safety.
Local riders and mounted police officers in Waddington took part in a ride earlier this month (2 August) to raise awareness of road safety around horses.
The group rode along Fell Road, where a serious accident involving two riders took place last year.
Both riders were injured, one seriously, and a horse was killed.
The ride out was organised by Waddington resident Katherine Robinson and Ribble Valley Horse Watch coordinator PCSO Di Bioletti.
“We want all road users to respect the rules of the road and each other so roads are safe to use for everyone,” Ms Bioletti said.
“Riders in the area are reporting near misses and collisions. Many are a result of motorists not slowing down sufficiently to allow for the fact that they are passing an animal whose instinct is to react, sometimes excessively and unpredictably, to perceived dangers.
“As a driver and horse rider myself, I understand how both riders and motorists can behave to respect each other to prevent any undue stress to horses and ultimately, to prevent potential accidents.
“I must point out that in general, the vast majority of drivers are courteous and considerate around riders and we would like to take the opportunity thank those drivers for helping to keep the roads safe.”
Lancashire Police offers the following advice to riders:
- Use fluorescent and reflective clothing for yourself and your horse whatever time of day or weather conditions
- Use correct hand signals and be aware of what is going on around you on the road and follow the Highway Code.
- Pull in when it is safe to let a long traffic queue pass.
- Thank considerate and courteous drivers if it is safe to do so.
They also offer the following advice to motorists passing horses:
- Treat all horses as a hazard and expect the unexpected. Follow the Highway Code.
- When overtaking pass wide and slow — don’t see a gap and go for it — horses can jump six feet sideways so the gap may disappear.
- For increased safety riders may ride two abreast — please be patient, they will return to single file when it is safe to do so.
- Watch out for riders’ signals and heed a request to stop or slow down, they are in a position to spot a hazard you may not see.
- Don’t rev your engine, sound your horn or play very loud music near a horse or rider.
- When behind a horse give them at least two car lengths space and be ready to stop.
- Be aware of the reactions of the horse — is it agitated? If so, stop and switch off your engine, especially if you are driving a large or noisy vehicle.