Horsepower and Powerful Horses

Improving weather and lighter evenings inspire many of us to get on our bikes and enjoy the picturesque rural scenery of Wales, but we’re not the only ones who will be using the road network for travel and leisure.

Horses and their riders are vulnerable on the road; a collision involving a horse and a vehicle can have life threatening consequences for the horse, the rider and the vehicle user.

The British Horse Society estimates that in the 12 months up to 28 February 2021, there were over 1,000 incidents on UK roads involving horses - injuring 130 people, killing 46 horses and injuring a further 118.

As responsible bikers, we have a role to play in helping to reduce those incidents. Horses are large, powerful animals with flight instincts and can be easily spooked, especially near fast-moving traffic or with sudden loud noises.

The BHS reports that 80% of incidents occurred because a vehicle passed by too closely to the horse.

If you are approaching a horse and rider and would like to overtake, be patient and give the rider time to find a gateway or other place at the side of the road where there should be enough space between the horse and your bike to allow you to pass safely.

When overtaking:

  • Please slow down and be prepared to stop
  • Keep well back
  • Never rev your engine or sound your horn
  • Pass slow and wide, at no more than 15mph - but only when it's safe to do so
  • Accelerate away gently once you are well past. The rider and the horse may both be inexperienced and nervous in traffic.

Equestrian road users are encouraged to report road incidents to help build a realistic picture of the situation, which is often underreported. To assist, BHS has developed an app allowing equestrians to quickly and easily report any incidents that affect safety. The Horse i app can be downloaded on the App Store and Google Play and incidents can also be reported via the BHS website.

Finally, please remember that the rider will always be very grateful for your consideration when passing, but may not always be able to acknowledge it if they’re busy keeping control of their horse.

Monday, 12 April 2021