Police Scotland has launched a new campaign in a bid to reduce the number of injuries and deaths caused by vehicles passing too close to horses.
Supported by the British Horse Society (BHS) and Glasgow City Council, ‘Lose the Blinkers’ has a particular emphasis on the urban fringes of large towns and cities, where many horse riders stable their horses and exercise them in the evenings and at weekends.
The campaign will see plain clothed officers from Police Scotland’s Mounted Branch patrolling areas of concern and videoing incidents of bad driving.
In the first few weeks of the campaign, drivers will be stopped and educated on the dangers associated with passing horses incorrectly – but next month Police Scotland will move to an enforcement phase.
Glasgow City Council has also funded the production of a poster and leaflet highlighting the issue, which will be distributed among the riding community and online.
According to the BHS, since 2010 there have been 50 riders injured, two deaths, 43 horses injured and 10 horses killed on Scotland’s roads. Many of these have been due to vehicles either colliding or passing too close to the horse, causing it to panic and bolt and in some instances throw the rider.
Alan Hiscox, BHS, said: “We want to remind drivers that horses can be unpredictable, and even the most well-trained horse can react to its instincts and want to move quickly away from what they consider to be a threat.
“It is worth remembering that there are three brains working when a horse and rider meet a vehicle on the road, the driver’s, the rider’s and the horse’s. There is room for everyone on the road if we all show some consideration.”
Inspector Janet Dickie, Police Scotland’s Road Policing Division, said: "We recognise the vulnerability that horse riders experience on our roads and this campaign is aimed at both riders and those who may come across them, as we all share the same road and need to show mutual respect.”
Category: General news.