Calls for horse-safe road crossing after man killed in collision

  • Riders in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire are calling for a safer crossing on a busy road used by an equestrian centre to access hacking after a man was killed last week (13 June).

    A man in his 30s was involved in the fatal collision on Thornhill Road near the Northern Riding Centre.

    Riders at the yard have been warning the council for two years that drivers go too fast on the blind bend on the road near the junction with Water Lane.

    The road often has cars parked on both sides forcing drivers to veer into the middle causing further hazards.

    Members of the centre have to cross this road to gain access to the Spen Valley Greenway, which leads to open countryside accessible for riders.

    “On many occasions I have witnessed cars travelling far too fast,” said Siddiq Birader, who learnt to ride at the centre.

    “It is not only us at the riding school who have to cross here, but also many walkers, cyclists, anglers and parents with young children,” he added.

    Mr Birader used to take his mother who had dementia to the centre as it reminded her of the horses her family used to keep.

    “After my mother died last October riding became even more important to me. It is has really helped with the bereavement process. The people at the riding school were so understanding and said come any time,” he said.

    The centre was founded by David Wray, who still lives on the site, but is now run by his son Neil.

    There are 35 horses giving lessons in two indoor schools, but hacking remains popular among customers of all ages.

    “When my instructor took me out for a hack it was a completely different experience,” recalls Mr Birader. “It really helped improve my riding. I now incorporate what I’ve learnt in a lesson into a hack.”

    Concerned over the dangers off the increasing traffic and speed on the road, Mr Birader is heading up the centre’s campaign to get measures in place to keep riders safe.

    “Ideally we need some sort of pedestrian crossing for horses, walkers and cyclists,” he said.

    “If they won’t do a zebra crossing, we would like to see more speed restrictions and warning signs showing the road is used by horses to cross. How many fatalities do we need before something is done?”

    Continued below…

    Neil Wray told H&H that in the 30 years the riding centre has been running, its location has transformed from “semi-rural” to a “very busy-built up environment”.

    “During that time Kirklees Council has done very little to support us in trying to ensure riders and walkers are safe to cross this increasingly busy road,” he said.

    “This stretch of Thornhill road has become an accident hotspot with multiply fatalities. Only last week a man was killed at the end of our drive.”

    Wray said the centre’s business rates have increased by 1,870% this year but he is “seeing no further support as a result of the additional payments”.

    On 11 May he received a letter from Kirklees Council saying it will not be putting any additional traffic calming measures on the road.

    A Kirklees Council spokesman said: “We are working with West Yorkshire Police following the fatality on the road to access what is the most appropriate course of action for us to take.”

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