Roads and Riders – Codes of Conduct

It is inevitable that at some point horses and riders have to navigate busy roads, especially in suburban areas and en route for rural bridlepaths.Riders and motorists have a right to use Britains roads – a right to safe and enjoyable travel. Both share a responsibility to understand each other’s needs.Mutual courtesy and care between riders and motorists is important to prevent intolerance and improve safety .Did You KnowThere are over 4.2 million riders in Britain?
There are over 26 million licensed vehicles on the road? There are over 8 horse related traffic accidents every day.Wearing hi-viz clothing gives up to 3 seconds more for a driver travelling at 30 mph to see you and take appropriate avoiding actionOver half of all road accidents involving horses happen on minor roads.

As a Rider you should:

Always wear sensible clothing.
-correctly fitting and current standard head gear.
-A Body protector or impact vest at current BETA standard.
-Hi Vis jackets, or Hi Viz & Reflective bands.
-Use Reflective and Hi-Viz gear i.e. leg bands and stirrup lights on your horse.
Avoid riding at dusk and in the dark.
Avoid riding on roads when visibility is poor.
Carry your name and address and Vets details with you
-This can be done through the medical Id pages on your phone & I.C.E.
Ensure you have third party /Public liability insurance.
-This can be purchased through the BHS and other organisations.
Always check your tack before starting any journey.
Ensure your horse is adequately trained.
Read and use the highway code .
Take the British Horse Society Riding & Road Safety test.
-This can be done at a number of riding establishments in the borough.
Read and learn from the BHS road safety manual and leaflets, which are available from the BHS website.
Report any accidents or incidents to the police and or, the council road safety section.
-Note any locations and vehicle plates if applicable.
When riding off road show consideration and courtesy to other path users.
-Pass wide and slow.
– Request permission to overtake politely and from a distance if possible.
– Take care when emerging from a bridleway onto a road as many do not afford. good visibility to rider or drivers.

Always acknowledging a courtesy does make a difference. For a rider a wave of acknowledgement is not always possible when two hands are needed for control, but a smile and a nod of the head is always possible!

As a motorist you should:

  • Look out for horses being led or ridden on the road
  • At left-hand bends and on narrow country roads – take extra care and keep your speed down.
  • When you see a horse rider on the road – slow down.
  • When behind a horse rider – give them plenty of room and be ready to stop.
  • Do not sound your horn or rev your engine – horses are powerful but vulnerable animals, easily scared by noise and may panic around fast moving vehicles
  • When overtaking – pass wide and slow.
  • Horse riders are often youngsters – so take extra care.For increased safety, riders may ride in double file when escorting a young or inexperienced horse rider.
  • Watch out for horse riders’ signals and heed a request to slow down or stop,
  • Riders should signal their intentions, but drivers should be aware that horses are unpredictable and a rider on a young or frightened horse may have their hands full.
  • Look out for horse riders turning right.
  • Horse riders keep to the left of the road even when turning right – it is unsafe for them to position a horse between lines of traffic where they can panic, sandwiched with no escape route.
  • Look out for horse riders on roundabouts.
  • When on a roundabout, horse riders will normally signal right only when approaching exits they DO NOT intend to use. Horse riders will keep to the left within the roundabout until reaching their exit, when they signal left.
  • Treat all horses as a potential hazard and expect the unexpected.

Courtesy of The British Horse Societies HORSE SENSE Leaflets.Full text available via the website.