AN ANNUAL event aiming to educate drivers on how to pass horses safely has been hailed the “most successful” yet as hundreds of riders took to the roads.
The Pass Wide and Slow (PWAS) event took place on 19 September and featured 178 rides across the UK. Many rides received support from councillors, police forces, walkers, cyclists and bikers.
Bernie Browne co-organised a ride with Eve Blakey and Felicity Armstrong in Northumberland, with 20 riders and officers from Northumbria Police’s mounted section.
“We want to make a difference and make drivers aware we are allowed to be on the road,” Bernie told H&H.
“I posted on Facebook about the ride and while there were some negative comments, they were outweighed by the positive, and I had people saying if they see horses they will pass wide and slow.”
PC Beverley Crain, who attended the Northumberland ride with PC Tony Fyall, told H&H it was a good campaign to get involved in.
“We ride every day in busy city centres and are aware of how busy traffic can be. A lot of drivers don’t know how to pass horses. Some think, ‘Is going faster past the horse better than taking too long to get past?’ so education is positive,” she said, adding that she experienced an incident while off-duty last month when her own horse Doodle was struck by a vehicle towing a caravan which didn’t stop.
“It was nice for the riding community to see the police are interested and are listening. I think some people are put off reporting incidents because they think nothing will get done, but the police do want to investigate if something has been dangerous.”
William Ferris organised two rides in Warrington with attendance from MP Andy Carter, mayor Maureen Creaghan, and Penketh and Cuerdley Police.
“It’s sad we have to campaign to get motorists to recognise equestrian road users, but at the same time it’s amazing we are contributing to making the roads safer,” said William.
MP Andy Carter told H&H he hopes the rides will reinforce the pass wide and slow message to drivers.
“I’ve had several riders contact me about issues they’ve experienced on roads, so I was very happy to support the event,” he said.
“This is about highlighting safety for riders and other road users, especially in rural areas where roads are shared, narrow and the speed limit is often set at the national limit.”
PWAS founder Debbie Smith told H&H the event had been the “most successful” yet. Next year’s event will be on 18 September.
“The amount of support we’ve had is fantastic. We’ve had a lot of media coverage and hope we have got the message out to drivers about why we are asking them to pass wide and slow,” she said.
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