Cycling UK has teamed up with the British Horse Society to provide new safety guidance for cyclists and horse riders.
The ‘Be Nice, Say Hi’ guidance is available as a downloadable leaflet and features two short videos, informing cyclists how to safely pass horse riders both on and off the road.
The guidance advises cyclists to drop their speed and call out a greeting, giving the horse and rider time to react before overtaking wide and slow.
According to the guidance, by alerting the rider and horse to their presence, cyclists run less risk of the horse reacting, and reduce the risk of injury – not just to the rider and their horse, but also themselves.
The collaboration between the two charities follows viral video footage, recorded at the Windsor Triathlon, showing cyclists undertaking a horse and rider at high speed.
Both charities say the video ‘demonstrated the need for better advice for people cycling on how to overtake horses safely’.
Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns said: “Every time a cyclist encounters a horse, there are three brains involved: the cyclist’s, the rider’s and the horse’s. Many people aren’t familiar with horses, and there can be confusion on what they should do when overtaking on a bike.
“Cyclists may already know to pass wide and slow when it’s safe to do so – but they could still startle the horse unless the horse and rider are made aware of your presence.
“Generally, if a cyclist startles a horse, it is due to simple lack of awareness that a horse needs more time to react, which is why Cycling UK is pleased to be helping the BHS promote the consideration and courtesy message of ’Be nice, say hi’.”
Alan Hiscox, director of safety for the British Horse Society, said: “We’re thrilled to be collaborating with Cycling UK as both groups are vulnerable road users and will benefit from working together to share the roads.
“We are encouraging riders to respond positively to cyclists who pass with consideration and reciprocate their courtesy.
“Horses are flight animals and may react to anything they are unsure of. By promoting the ‘Be nice, say hi’ message, we hope more cyclists will appreciate the potential risk they pose.
“If all road users are considerate and mindful of one another we can reduce the number of incidents between horses, cyclists and vehicles.”