After an accident out hacking resulted in Lancashire based BHS member, Joanne Heys, suffering a fractured skull, and her horse Max a serious knee injury after being hit by a car, she was determined to make local drivers more aware of horses and how to pass them.
Joanne approached her local MP, Jake Berry, who backs her campaign and helped her to organise a meeting on 15 October which was attended by local riders, drivers and The British Horse Society. Jake spoke passionately at the meeting about his desire to help educate residents in his constituency beyond the meaning of road signs, to instill confidence in drivers to safely pass any vulnerable road users they meet on the roads. He hopes to draw in other MPs to raise the issue in Parliament.
BHS Director of Safety, Alan Hiscox gave a detailed presentation explaining how The British Horse Society can assist to achieve Better Drivers, Better Riders and Better Horses. With over 2000 reports of road incidents, 38 rider deaths and 200 horse deaths reported to the BHS horse accidents website, unfortunately 75% of these occurred because the driver passed too close. Since the launch of our Dead Slow Campaign, Alan has met with:
- Autonomous car technology funders – AVERT ( Autonomous Car Equine Recognition Technology).
- Ocado.com and Morrison driver training teams. Alan trained them on how to pass horses safely.
- The National Farmers Union to publicise Dead Slow.
- The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency to discuss equestrian road safety on driving test.
- The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA), Head of Road Safety Team.
- Suzuki and meeting arranged with Mercedes to discuss promoting Dead Slow.
- Horse and Road Safety Awareness.
- Ex-Top Gear presenter, Chris Goffery, to discuss ways of publishing Dead Slow in the motoring press.
- Metropolitan Police - Safer Roads Policing Team.
- Highways England with BHS Director of Access Mark Weston.
BHS asks all riders to wear Hi-Viz, or at least ‘Bright Viz’, for instance a white or bright coloured top to help drivers to see you. Riders should familiarise themselves with the Highway Code, and show and return courtesy to drivers. Rider confidence on the road can be increased by taking the BHS Riding and Road Safety Award, and if incidents or near misses do occur it’s important everything is reported to our website.
The floor was then opened up to a range of questions regarding local issues, including potholes, boulders on bridleways and signs to inform drivers of the presence of riders on busy roads intersected with bridleways. Jake clarified that now; post-Brexit, it is more important than ever to be part of a member body such as The British Horse Society. The Government will be consulting regularly with all British member bodies to determine key issues as negotiations continue post-Brexit. Your membership enables the BHS to produce campaigns such as Dead Slow, and the larger our membership, the more the BHS will be heard. The message taken away was that riders need to unite and together they are stronger – whether as a voice to local authorities, contacting local Public Rights of Way Officers and to help educate non-horsey friends and family.