”Horse riding, for me, has never been safer - so why do I feel like it’s getting more dangerous?”
BBC Broadcaster Lizzie Greenwood-Hughes echoed the thoughts of many riders while speaking at the BHS’s Real Horsepower Safety Conference, held at the Royal Veterinary College on 6 June.
The conference was an opportunity for riders and industry leaders to see what is being done to protect horse and rider on the road. Topics discussed throughout the day included how riders ensure they are seen on the road, the legal aspects after a road accident and how we can change driver behaviour.
Carly Brookfield, Chief Executive of the Driving Instructors Association (DIA), discussed how we can influence driver behaviour to make roads safer for all users.
She spoke about the different road safety campaigns with special mention of the BHS’s recent Dead Slow work, which has reached over 11.5 million people.
“Dead Slow was remarkable because it gave driving instructors a call to action,” said Carly. This was one of the reasons why the DIA awarded our campaign with the Driver Education Campaign of the Year for 2016.
Rider and journalist Chris Goffey, Top Gear’s longest presenter, looked at safety from a motoring journalist’s point of view, noting that it’s particularly “difficult” getting the safety message about horses out to younger drivers. This was a viewpoint echoed throughout the day.
Lizzie Greenwood-Hughes also spoke about her own near-misses on the road, which have resulted in her having to buy a head-cam in order to report drivers to the police. Lizzie believes that horse riders have “an image problem” and this is why they are often victims of ignorant or dangerous driving.
To finish the day, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) discussed their road safety initiative Operation Considerate, which aims to protect all vulnerable road users. Their plan for road safety is simple: engage, educate, enforce and engineering.
GMP has also been working with BHS volunteers in the North West to spread the message about how drivers should safely pass horses on the road.
“We can’t do this without BHS volunteers,” noted Gareth Walker.
Find out more about road safety for riders and vehicle drivers, plus how you can make a difference by volunteering with the BHS in your area.