Nearly three in four incidents involving horses on UK roads occur due to drivers failing to leave enough space, new figures reveal.
Statistics published by the British Horse Society (BHS) show that in the year ending 28 February 2019, 87 horses and four people were killed on UK roads.
In total, 845 incidents involving horses on the road were reported to the BHS over the 12-month period – a year-on-year rise of 109%.
Of those, 73% occurred due to vehicles passing by too closely.
BHS describes the increase in 2018/19 as a ‘huge concern’ – but goes on to point out that is a result of a new partnership which encourages members of local societies in Dartmoor and the New Forest to report all incidents involving ponies and horses grazing on open land.
Alan Hiscox, director of safety at the BHS, said: “The inclusion of horse incident statistics from Dartmoor and the New Forest allow us to have a much better understanding of the rate of incidents occurring on our roads.
“The dramatic increase in incidents is of huge concern, but we are aware that only 10% of accidents are reported to us, therefore these figures are only the tip of the iceberg.”
‘Wide and slow’
BHS launched its ‘Dead Slow’ road safety campaign in March 2016 to help educate drivers on how to pass horses on the road.
The key campaign messages to drivers are:
- Slow down to a maximum of 15mph
- Be patient – do not sound the horn or rev the engine
- Pass the horse wide and slow (if safe to do so), at least a car’s width if possible
- Drive slowly away
BHS is also working with the horse riding app Huufe to create and trial a new app that allows riders to report incidents ‘easily and quickly’ – by selecting the type of incident they were involved in while also recording the location and time.