Photographs: Peter Robinson
A group of horse riders and a carriage are trying to make horse riding on public roads safer for riders and drivers by promoting the “Pass Wide and Slow” campaign here in Cheshire. The campaign aims to reduce the number of accidents involving horses by informing drivers of the danger that frightened horses can pose to vehicles.
The group, who ride in and around Shavington, mainly, are concerned that riding is becoming less safe due to increased traffic, with a corresponding increase in drivers who don’t know how to approach horses. 11 riders were killed and 116 seriously injured across the UK last year as a result of collisions with vehicles. There are fears that that figure could rise as housing developments continue apace across areas such as the Shavington, adding hundreds of commuting drivers to rural roads.
Drivers don’t realise how unpredictable and easily spooked horses can be. They enlisted the help of Cheshire Rural Crime Police to spread the “Pass Wide and Slow” message locally. On Sunday (the 19th), PCSO Smith joined the group along local roads to promote the campaign and witness the problem first-hand.
One of the riders said, “Although a lot of drivers are considerate and pass us with caution, there are always those unwilling to slow down and we have had more than one incident of drivers sounding their horn when asked to slow down and driving past at speed. I am now very cautious of taking our nine-year-old son out hacking which is sad, as it gives him much pleasure, gets him out and about and builds his confidence.”
She also said, “It is a shame that some drivers, often more through ignorance than carelessness, can cause riding to be far more dangerous than it needs to be. Road users need to know that horses are very unpredictable and that riders never have full control of the animals. Horses can be spooked by as little as a change in the colour of tarmac on the road.”
The Pass Wide and Slow Campaign is a fantastic initiative to raise awareness of the dangers horse riders face out on the roads.
Horses are easily scared by cars that don’t take care when passing, and this can cause them to spook and rear, putting the horse, the rider and the driver in danger.”