‘Speeding traffic touched my hand’: but new system improves riders’ safety

  • A new system of flashing warning signs on a trunk road has “made a huge difference” to safety, according to the manager of a riding school based near a major trunk road.

    Bargower Riding School, Kilmarnock, had been campaigning for years for safety measures on the A76, which runs between the riding school and its hacking, but without success.

    Now the warning system, which can be activated from horseback, has slowed most motorists down.

    Bargower general manager Emma Devlin said: “I have been in the scary position of standing at the side of the road waiting to turn right and speeding traffic has actually touched my hand as I signal – thank goodness all our horses and ponies are good in traffic!

    “We are so pleased with the crossing now and, apart from a few very silly drivers, we are seeing a huge difference in traffic behaviour.

    “The safety of our horses and riders has definitely been improved.”

    Gordon Stitt, of electronics company Coeval which created the system, said it involves two sets of warning signs, about half a mile apart, with three crossing points in between.

    “There are high-level buttons for people on horseback and lower ones for walkers,” he told H&H.

    “The flash time is about three minutes, which allows for gaps in the traffic, and the drivers know horses are in the vicinity.”

    Mr Stitt said the signs are solar-powered, so no other energy source is needed, and are being used between five and 20 times a week.

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    He added: “Drivers tend to become immune to permanent hazard warnings, especially if they drive a road regularly and see a horse warning triangle but there are no horses there. So by making the warning flash when the horses are using the road, the whole signage system becomes effective.

    “I live nearby and have made it a personal project to make sure this works and that the riders have plenty of time to get across safely.

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