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Riders urged to be ‘hyper-aware’ on roads as lockdown restrictions ease

Equestrians have been urged to be aware when riding out as an increase in vehicle speeds and the number of people cycling has been reported since lockdown restrictions were eased.

In a safety warning to riders, the British Horse Society said the government’s measures to delay the spread of coronavirus had significantly reduced the number of vehicles on the roads this spring, but since these were relaxed, traffic and cycling activity is increasing on both roads and public rights of way.

The organisation is emphasising to all riders and carriage drivers the importance of taking extra care while exercising horses on the roads, when no other option is available.

BHS director of safety Alan Hiscox said: “With the government’s slight lifting of the lockdown measures, the level of activity on our roads is increasing, as well as the speed of the traffic.

“Most riders may unfortunately have to ride on the roads at some point, whether that is to reach a nearby bridleway or yard, and therefore the BHS is stressing the importance of being hyper-aware of your surroundings to better protect your safety. If both riders and drivers share the roads responsibly, we can help to bring incident levels down.”

The BHS has issued a checklist of safety precautions which includes riders making extra checks of their tack and carrying ID, informing someone where they are going and when they expect to be back, wearing appropriate high-vis such as a vest, hat band, breastplate and leg wraps, and to consider wearing a helmet or body camera.

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At the time of publication riders can hack out in England with one other rider, if that rider is from a different household. People should not be hacking in groups with people who are not members of their households, and in order to maintain social distance, it is recommended riders should hack in single file. Yesterday (28 May), the prime minster indicated that from Monday (1 June) individuals could meet outside in groups of up to six people, but that people from different households should continue to practise social distancing.

As of today in Wales, people riding should do so individually, or with family members. Riders should not hack with people from other households, and should stay local. From Monday (1 June) the rules in Wales will allow individuals from two households to meet outside while social distancing and individuals should remain in their local areas, travelling no more than five miles.

In Scotland, riders are advised to stay within their local area – roughly five miles – and adhere to Scottish access legislation. Yesterday the Scottish Government advised individuals can meet outside with another household and if doing so, this should be a maximum of eight people – with social distancing measures. They should only meet with one other household per day. In Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland riders can hack out on their own property or place they keep their horse, or within a close proximity of their home.

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