Horse sense keeps Somerset safe

Somerset County Council’s road safety team is encouraging a little bit of ‘horse sense’ to keep everyone safe on the road.

Supporting the British Horse Society’s ‘Dead? Or Dead Slow?’ campaign, they are educating road users on how to pass horse riders safely.

Everyone has a right to use the road and a responsibility to ensure the safety of its more vulnerable users.  Tragic consequences can occur, if drivers don’t pass riders and their horses carefully.

Drivers and riders can help ensure the safety of horse riders with four simple steps. When you see a horse:

  • Slow down to 15mph
  • Be patient, don’t sound your horn or rev your engine
  • Pass wide(at least a car’s width)
  • Drive slowly 

Remember on rural roads, a lack of full view ahead could potentially obscure a horse and rider, so always drive at a speed which will allow you to stop in the distance you can see to be clear.

The campaign also has a number of recommendations for horse riders on how best to stay safe when riding on the road:

  • Be safe be seen – both horse and rider should wear hi-vis even on bright and sunny days.
  • Don’t ride in poor weather or light conditions.
  • Be courteous to drivers. If you show courtesy to them then they are more likely to show courtesy to you.
  • If the horse you are riding is not used to the road ensure you are accompanied by an experienced rider and horse.
  • Concentrate at all times and avoid distractions.
  • Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back.

The British Horse Society’s Director of Safety, Alan Hiscox said; “Most horse riders would prefer not to ride on the roads. However, a lack of off-road access means using roads is a necessity for many riders. Riders have the same right to be on the road as motorists, cyclists or any other user group. With a bit of understanding and consideration on both sides, there’s room for everyone to use the roads in harmony and safety. The Dead or Dead Slow campaign urges drivers to slow down to 15mph, pass wide –at least a car’s width when they meet a horse and rider on the road.”

Cllr John Woodman, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “Horse riders are a common sight on the roads of Somerset and as the ‘Dead? or Dead Slow?’ campaign clearly shows we can ensure their safety with some simple common sense steps.”

The British Horse Society also provides Ride Safe assessments providing riders with knowledge and guidance on riding in all situations including how to ride safely on the road.

For further information on Ride Safe and the ‘Dead? Or Dead Slow?’ campaign visit: http://www.bhs.org.uk.

For more road safety advice, please visit www.somersetroadsafety.org. You can also find Somerset Road Safety on Facebook www.facebook.com/somersetroadsafety, Twitter www.twitter.com/SCC_RoadSafety, or Instagram www.instagram.com/somersetroadsafety.