“Pass Slow and Wide” signs NOT needed in Lincolnshire say Council
Lincolnshire council dismisses the need for new horse safety signs, whilst Oxfordshire County Council embraces the signs as part of a joint safety initiative.
Lincolnshire Country Council has rejected plans to erect road signs to alert drivers to ‘pass slow and wide’, saying that it would be “counter-productive”.
The British Horse Society (BHS) has requested that signs be installed as part of an awareness campaign that is already successfully running in other parts of the country. BHS are even funding the road signs, so there would be no cost to the Local Authority.
Richard Davies, speaking for the Council says that the extra signs are not needed and stated
The idea that blanket signs across the whole county would somehow make our roads safer isn’t true. The reality is if there are signs up everywhere warning about everything, eventually people phase-out.”
Alan Hiscox, Director of Safety at the charity counterclaimed that these signs would provide an “additional temporary educational tool”.
Rider, Ian Keale from Louth stated how important the campaign is, saying that too many drivers pass horses and riders too closely and at high speeds. He stated
I don’t think [they] appreciate how frightening it is,”
Drivers will pass us at 40mph and, many of them, too close”.
In contrast, Oxfordshire County Council in conjunction with the county’s Fire and Rescue Service and the BHS are encouraging drivers to stay alert to horse riders using the country roads. They have erected ‘Pass slow and wide’ signs at hotspots regularly used by equestrians where there is a record of previous incidents involving horses, riders and road traffic.
Road Safety Education Team Manager for Oxford’s Fire and Rescue Service, Andy Ford, said:
This safety initiative is about protecting everyone on our roads; drivers and horse riders. I encourage anyone who owns a vehicle to think about the devastating consequences if they ploughed into a horse, or if by passing at speed they frightened the animal; the rider injured or killed as a result. These signs will help you think.”
Statistics released by the (BHS), in March 2021, revealed road incidents involving horses and vehicles are still very problematic with 117 incidents reported to the equine charity during 2020-2021. Overall, incidents in the South of England decreased by just 9 per cent compared to the previous year, despite lockdown reducing road traffic levels.
Further research conducted by the BHS to help understand the rate of incidents involving horses on UK roads has revealed that of 1,010 reported incidents, 80 per cent occurred due to vehicles passing by too closely. The charity has launched a new free of charge safety app, ‘Horse i’, which allows riders to report incidents which can be found on the BHS website.
This app allows riders to report incidents and gives examples of what an ‘incident’ may consist of, i.e. Road users, slippery road surfaces, fireworks etc. For equestrians who don’t use a smartphone, the same information can be found on the BHS website address: https://www.bhs.org.uk/our-charity/press-centre/news/2021/march/new-safety-app-horse-i
According to one major equine insurer, who has looked at some of the latest available data, the statistics paint a “worrying picture of life on the UK’s roads” stating that due to road traffic accidents during 2019 – 2020 a total of 80 horses were killed, which is close to two horses each week. A further 136 horses were injured”. One person, tragically, lost their life and a further 135 were injured. The insurer states that of the reported incidents, “40% occurred because a vehicle passed by too quickly while 81% happened because cars passed too close to horses. A shocking 43% of riders also reported road rage or abuse from other road users – a source of deep concern for all”.
The BHS provides the following information on their website page, Dead Slow Safety Campaign for riders:
- Always wear hi-viz clothing and put hi-viz equipment on your horse – even on bright days, it is surprising how well a horse can be camouflaged against a hedge. Find out more about what to wear.
- Wear protective headgear to current approved standards
- Unless absolutely necessary, we highly recommend you avoid riding in failing light, fog or darkness or when it is snowing or icy
- Show courtesy to drivers – a smile and a nod are enough if your hands are full
- Take The British Horse Society Ride Safe Award
- Be aware of your surroundings and give clear and decisive signals
- Adhere to the Highway Code
And for drivers:
- 1. Slow down to a maximum of 15mph
- 2. Be patient, I won’t sound my horn or rev my engine
- 3. Pass the horse wide and slow, (if safe to do so) at least a car’s width if possible
- 4. Drive slowly away.
Finally, BHS encourages all riders and carriage drivers to report their incidents to help them more fully understand the level of equine-related incidents across the UK, regardless of the severity; this information will inform their figures and be added to their national statistics.
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