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How to Avoid Road Accidents Caused by Horses

A motorcyclist heads out for a long ride in the countryside on a summer evening. He’s had a hard day at work and can think of nothing better than a ride along a country lane to help him switch off.

There’s also a horse rider who’s thinking the same thing. Usually she’s only able to ride her horse at weekends, but this time of year allows her to spend an evening riding her horse along the bridleways soon after leaving the office.

Long summer evenings offer more leisure opportunities to all kinds of road users but, with more of them on the road, the risk of a road accident inevitably goes up.

This is exactly what happened the other day when a motorcyclist collided with a horse rider in the Hertfordshire countryside. The collision happened at 7.30pm on a Tuesday evening – both road users suffering serious injuries that needed hospital treatment, their summer evening ride ending in tragedy. (No information was available regarding the horse.)

There Are More Collisions Involving Drivers and Horses Than You Think

Drivers sometimes wonder why horse riders need to use the roads, but they often don’t have a choice as they need to travel to local bridleway access points.

According to Department of Transport statistics, five horse riders were fatally injured in collisions with motor vehicles in 2012 – with a further 26 seriously injured.

The British Horse Society also say there are around 3,000 road traffic accidents of varying severity each year involving horses.

How to Drive Safely Around Horses

With horses mainly found on narrow, curvy, hedge-filled country roads, it can be difficult for drivers to see what’s around the corner.

Many drivers do slow down and give horses plenty of room but others do not, unfortunately. Horses are big, powerful animals who are easily frightened – especially around fast cars or the loud engine noise of a motorbike.

UK Government website Think! is running a Horse Sense campaign in an effort to both reduce the road accident risk and raise driver awareness about horses on the roads. The website includes an excellent video on how to drive safely around horses.

If you’re driving in the countryside this summer and you meet a horse on the road, then please do remember the following advice: 

  • Slow right down – and be ready to stop if you need to.
  • Only pass the horse if there is plenty of room to do so – you should give the horse a wide berth (at least a car’s width) and pass the horse very slowly.
  • Don’t do anything that frightens the horse, such as revving your engine or beeping your horn.
  • Accelerate very gently when you have safely passed the horse. 

Slater and Gordon Lawyers offer a free consultation to anyone injured in a road traffic accident through no fault of their own.

Call us 24/7 on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we’ll get back to you.

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