There are as many as twelve riding schools and livery yards in the London Borough of Havering and it is estimated that there are over 400 horses looked after at these establishments.
In March one rider was exercising her horse in the Country Park Estate, Hornchurch, when it took fright due to the sound of the air brakes on an approaching bus, and was in collision with a car.
Following this incident, the rider wrote to Transport for London, the British Horse Society and the local Go-Ahead bus garage at Rainham, calling for bus drivers to be made aware of the need to look out for horses and to approach them with caution.
Safety officers at the bus garage responded positively to this call and produced a poster to educate drivers about the need for special care when overtaking horses on the roads.
One month later, James Parker, the BHS Road Safety Officer for London and Councillor Wendy Brice-Thompson, who represents Havering on the London Road Safety Council, attended an open forum at Rainham Bus Garage to talk to drivers about how to pass horses safely. They also distributed copies of the BHS and GEM Motoring Assist leaflet, ‘Look At It From My Point Of View’.
Councillor Brice-Thompson said: “It is estimated that every day in the UK there are eight horse related accidents on the roads. Although we are a London borough, horses being exercised on the road is not an unusual sight.
"I urge riders to wear hi-viz so that drivers can see them from some way away and this in turn allows drivers to slow down, and pass wide and quietly."
James Parker added “I applaud the positive response of the staff at Rainham Bus Garage to this incident. Drivers showed a lot of concern and interest in the subject and Go-Ahead London clearly take road safety very seriously indeed.”
Photo shows (left to right): Councillor Wendy Brice-Thompson, Stephanie Fuller (bus driver) and James Parker