The British Horse Society always recommends wearing hi-viz clothing when riding or carriage driving, regardless of whether you ride or drive on or off the road, the time of day, season or weather conditions. We would not recommend going out at night or in poor visibility, in accordance with Rule 51 of the Highway Code.
Wearing hi-viz when on the road can give other road users extra time to react which could save the life of both yourself and your horse. There is no law that states equestrians must wear hi-viz, but it is in their best interests to do so. Hi-viz should not just be worn on the road, but off road too. Research by the Ministry of Defence has shown that helicopter pilots could potentially see a rider in hi-viz gear up to half a mile sooner, giving them more time to react and take avoiding action where possible. It also means that in the unfortunate event that a rider is thrown from their horse and left in open countryside, they may be seen much sooner and hopefully prevent their injuries from becoming more serious.
Conspicuity of horses and riders on the road - Transport Research Laboratory Report
We aim to “...protect and promote the interests of all horses and those who care about them…” Part of this requires that evidence-based advice is available to improve safety.
The report we commissioned by the Transport Research Laboratory seeks to provide a basis for BHS advice regarding one topic on which it is often asked to comment; the visibility and conspicuity of riders and their mounts when riding on public roads. It achieves this by providing a review of relevant theory and evidence relating to the impact that interventions such as high visibility clothing and lighting may have on road safety for horses and their riders.
Two recommendations made from this report are; riders should choose to wear lights wherever possible, ideally in a pattern that highlights their width (lights on their shoulders and the flanks of their horse, for example). And, in the absence of lights, riders should wear high visibility and reflective clothing, choosing a colour appropriate for their riding environment.
Find out more information from the report.
Don’t be a dark horse – download our popular poster for your tack room and local shops.
WHAT HI-VIZ CLOTHING TO CHOOSE
The price of hi-viz can vary, but there is something available for all budgets. It is a matter for you to choose how much clothing or equipment you and your horse wear. The BHS recommends as a minimum, a hi-viz jacket or tabard for the rider and leg bands on the horse. A hat band or hat cover is a useful addition. When choosing what colour to wear, think about the background you will be riding against. At certain times of the year, you could blend into the background or hedgerow wearing certain colours.
We would recommend riders wear LED lights wherever possible, ideally in a pattern that highlights their width (lights on their shoulders and the flanks of their horse, for example) as recommended in our report.
Many hi-viz garments now reach BSI approved standards. These standards are BSEN1150 or EN1150, aimed at use by leisure riders.
For professional use – such as when kit is issued by employers for use by their staff when they go out – the standard should be EN ISO 20471 (2013).
You can also choose to wear hi-viz accessories such as a lightweight harness, hat band, or any other item designed to be worn on your person. These items should be certified to BSEN 13356 (2001) standard. We would always recommend choosing clothing to a recognised standard where possible.
INSURANCE FOR EQUESTRIANS
Have you got public liability insurance to cover you, should your horse damage property or a vehicle, or should they get out of their field and end up on a road? We offer Public Liability and Personal Accident insurance as a benefit of being a BHS Gold Member. This includes up to £30 million for Public Liability insurance and up to £10,000 Personal Accident insurance. Accidents happen, but it's good to know you'll be covered. For more information have a look at the other benefits we offer to BHS members.
RIDE SAFE AWARD
Our Ride Safe Award is the essential award for all riders, including the 96% who are recreational riders. Ride Safe gives you the confidence to ride in the environments you are most often faced with, keeping you and your horse safe.
Free with the Ride Safe Award assessment, your Ride Safe Guide provides practical examples, tips and guidance to make you knowledgeable when riding in all situations including:
- Riding safely on the road, along rights of way, across agricultural land, at the beach and when warming up at competitions
Understanding common signs
Dealing with conflict or difficult situations when riding out
Negotiating obstacles, wind turbines and solar panel farms
If you're taking your BHS Ride Safe Award, your horse will be required to wear a leg band on every leg, positioned between the fetlock joint and the knee or hock, this is normally provided by the BHS Approved Centre. A hi-viz tabard is provided for you as part of the cost of the Ride Safe Award.
For more information contact the BHS Safety Team on 02476 840516 or firstname.lastname@example.org.