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Road Safety Week

The British Horse Society are proud supporters of Brake's Road Safety Week. Their theme for 2018 is ‘Bike Smart’ – which supports the message of our ‘Be nice, say hi’ campaign in collaboration with Cycling UK. Equestrians and cyclists are both vulnerable road users. We both share similar risks when riding on the road, and we need access to more safe off-road riding.

Safety of horses and riders is of paramount importance to us and we want to use Road Safety Week and our Dead Slow campaign as an opportunity to raise awareness of the very real threat that riders and carriage drivers face, and to educate drivers on how to pass horses on the road safely.

Key Statistics

Since November 2010:

  • 2,900 incidents involving horses on the road have been reported to the BHS
  • 230 horses died at the scene, or as a result of their injuries
  • 39 riders have died

Due to cycling related incidents, since November 2010 there have been:

  • 197 total incidents reported
  • 2 horse fatalities
  • 39 horses injured
  • 74 riders injured

From 2016-2017:

  • 81% of incidents occurred because the driver didn’t allow enough room between their vehicle and the horse
  • 1 in 5 incidents resulted in the car colliding with the horse
  • Almost 40% of riders were subject to road rage or abuse

You can download and share our infographic that shows the shocking incident and accident statistics and highlights the real threat riders face when they are riding on the road.

With an increasing number of reported incidents involving riders and cars, we're building on our solid foundation of road safety education and campaigning to make drivers aware of what to do when they encounter horses on the road. 

For motorists

We have produced this video to show drivers how to take care and what they need to do when they meet horses on the road.


  • Slow down to a maximum of 15mph
  • Be patient, don't sound your horn or rev your engine
  • Pass the horse wide and slow (at least a car's width)
  • Drive slowly away

For riders

We're on hand to offer some helpful tips and advice for riders to help improve road safety.

  • Wear hi-viz, fluorescent and reflective clothing whenever you ride out, on-road or off-road, even in bright sunlight
  • Wear protective headgear to current approved standards
  • Be alert and give clear and decisive signals
  • Acknowledge and return courtesy, a smile and a nod are enough if your hands are full
  • Take The British Horse Society Ride Safe Award

Read more information about staying safe when riding on the road here.

Our Research

As a Charity, we believe it’s our responsibility to inform riders on what they can do to protect themselves.

The TRL conducted research for the BHS to help advise riders on the best way to be seen when riding out. The report, ‘Conspicuity of horses and riders on the road’ was commissioned due to a lack of evidence-based research currently available about what horse riders should wear to help protect themselves.

Three main recommendations have been made, which the we hope will reduce the number of incidents;

  • Wearing LED lights, ideally in a pattern highlighting the width of the horse and rider, along with high visibility and reflective clothing
  • Speed limits on roads with a national speed limit where horses are frequently ridden or driven should be reduced and enforced
  • Riders should use bright and reflective safety clothing where possible – riders should consider the dominant colours in their riding environment and choose a colour which will provide contrast accordingly 

Read the report to find out more information.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with our Safety Department who will be happy to help

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