A rider is advising everyone to hack with a headcam following two serious incidents on her local roads.
Bridget Bayliss has taken the extra safety measure after her friend’s horse had to be put down when it broke its leg after being spooked by a speeding vehicle.
Within weeks, Bridget’s daughter Milly also narrowly escaped injury when her horse Marble reared as she was startled by an over-taking 4×4.
Milly, who was riding and leading at the time, had to let go of the other horse Dolly, which was fortunately quickly recaptured.
“My daughter phoned me in a state, she was properly shaken because she’d had to let go of the horse,” said Bridget, who is a livery in Medstead.
“A woman driver behind her stopped and fortunately because Dolly is such a good horse, she waited on the side of the road to be caught.”
“The driver of the 4×4 just sped off,” she added. “Milly was only on the road for five minutes getting from one bridleway to another. The speed limit has recently been reduced to 40mph on that stretch but no one seems to take any notice.”
Bridget said that when her friend’s horse had to be put down, she knew she had to do something about the situation and has since been in touch with the BHS, the local police and Hampshire County Council.
“A local policeman who rides has ridden up and down the lane where the accident happened and Councillor Mark Kemp-Gee have also been very helpful,” she added.
“I’ve had a really strong response when I’ve posted about the problem on Facebook.”
Bridget explained her first move had been to invest in a headcam for her daughter, costing around £50, and a high-vis jacket that alerted drivers to the fact that the rider is filming.
“I do think it’s the way forward,” she said. “If motorists see from your high-vis that that’s what you’re resorting to, they might take more care.”
Bridget added that she also felt it is very important that riders be educated to use correct hand signals and thank traffic that has slowed for them.
“Riders need to be respectful to motorists in return,” she said.
Conservative councillor for Alton rural Mark Kemp-Gee, a former amateur jockey, said he is sympathetic to the situation riders faced on the roads.
“The areas of Medstead and Bentworth are the equine capital of Hampshire with miles and miles of rural roads and we know it’s a problem riders face,” he said.
“We’ve spent a lot of money at the council improving the byways open to all traffic which have been trashed by 4x4s and are applying to get them banned so other users can enjoy them.
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“While we’re trying to improve the off-road riding, riders still need to move between country lanes to get there. In the 1960s and 70s drivers were trained to slow down for horses but it doesn’t seem to be the case now.
“It’s a pity riders are having to resort to headcams to deal with the issue.”