Warning over accident hotspot

  • Flashing lights warning drivers to slow down are to be erected at the point where a racehorse was struck by a motorist in a road-rage attack in Epsom, Surrey, two years ago.

    In January 2001, Toblersong, a promising five-year-old gelding trained by Brett Johnson, had to be destroyed after his hind leg was severed following a deliberate collision by a driver on Headley Road, Epsom.

    It was reported that the 55-year-old driver, Stephan Lush, clashed with Mr Johnson after being accused of passing the string of horses too fast and frightening them.

    The accident horrified members of the public and equestrian community who called for improved safety measures in the area.

    After talks between Surrey County and Epsom & Ewell councillors, together with MP Chris Grayling, government approval was finally given for the installation of flashing lights.

    Now riders wishing to cross simply press a button, which activates flashing lights on both sides of the road warning motorists of their intentions to cross.

    A spokesperson for Surrey County Council explained that they are currently implementing an initiative calling for safer routes to gallops.

    “Surrey County Council is pleased to working in conjunction with the Epsom Racehorse Trainers Association and develop a programme to improve safety for riders crossing roads in Epsom.”

    Four racing yards will benefit from this new crossing, while a 40mph-blanket speed limit will come into force on roads around the Downs later this month. Another crossing is planned for nearby Burgh Heath Road, while a crossing in Langley Vale is already in place.

    Sheila Hardy, head of safety at the British Horse Society, said: “The BHS is delighted that horse road safety is being taken seriously and trust that motorists will take notice of the flashing lights.”

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