A petition calling for it to become a legal requirement for drivers to have to pass a horse ‘wide and slow’ has received more than 87,000 signatures.
The petition, which also asks for drivers to have to abide by hand signals asking them to stop and slow down when asked, has been launched by Debbie Smith using the website change.org. She aims to reach 150,000 signatures in a bid to attract the attention of the Government.
Ms Smith points to statistics which show that more than 4,000 horse riders and carriage drivers were admitted to hospital between April 2011 and March 2012 as a result of injuries resulting from a road collision.
The Highway Code currently tells drivers to ‘be particularly careful of horse riders and horse-drawn vehicles especially when overtaking. Always pass wide and slowly’.
However, a video produced to accompany the petition says despite the clear guidance “far too many drivers are unaware of it or simply chose to ignore it”.
In March, the British Horse Society (BHS) launched the ‘Dead Slow’ Campaign on the back of data which revealed that between November 2010 and March 2016, 36 riders were killed as a result of road incidents involving horses that were reported to the charity.
On her change.org page, Debbie Smith says: “Horses are easily scared by cars that don’t take care when passing them. When they get scared they can spook or rear, throwing riders off of them. This can lead to someone falling through a windscreen.
“Until there is a law neither the driver, the riders or the horses are safe.”
Calling on people to sign the petition, she added: “Horse riders like me are trying to hold drivers to account ourselves – trying to catch drivers with the use of head cameras.
“But we can’t keep trying to hold drivers accountable ourselves, we need parliament to do something to change this. The horse industry is big, a lot of businesses rely on being able to ride on the roads. We need to be able to ride safely.”