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  • Common incidents

Equestrians and cyclists

We are both vulnerable road users, and we share similar risks when using the road and off-road tracks.

  • Last reviewed: 21st July 2022
Say Hi Cyclist And Horse 71 Say Hi Cyclist And Horse 71

We're both vulnerable - let’s work together

Horses can move quickly and can weigh up to three-quarters of a tonne. If a horse is passed too quickly or too close, they may react and potentially cause injury to both the equestrian and cyclist.  

Cyclists and horse riders both have a statutory right to ride on byways, bridleways and roads. However, it is important to remember that while The Countryside Act 1968 gives cyclists the right to use bridleways, it states that cyclists must give way to horse riders and walkers. 

Advice for equestrians

  • Be aware at all times and expect the unexpected. Keep a regular lookout behind you so that a cyclist doesn’t pop up suddenly and surprise you. 
  • Remember, many people may not be familiar with horses and how to pass them safely. If a cyclist does try to pass you when it is unsafe, it is a good idea to calmly explain why it is unsafe to pass and ask them to wait for you to move to a safer place. 
  • Be considerate to other road/track users and pass them in walk.
  • Be visible – wear hi-vis clothing to help cyclists see you from a distance

Advice for cyclists

  • Alert the horse rider you are there, by calling out in advance 'Hi, is it ok to pass?' 
  • Give the horse and rider time to react. The rider might not be able to hear you straight away so it is a good idea to wait until they have noticed you before passing. 
  • Remember to give way. You must give way to horse riders on bridleways according to The Countryside Act 1968. 
  • Look out for narrow pinch points in the track or road ahead. It may not be safe to pass each other in a narrow space and it might be safer to wait at a wider point. 
  • Slow down or stop if the horse rider asks you to. The rider may feel that the horse is about to react to something, meaning that the horse might suddenly move forwards, backwards or sideways.
  • Pass wide and slow and never pass on the inside of a horse. If possible, pass with at least a car's width. 

Cycling events

Be Nice, Say Hi

The British Horse Society (BHS) joined forces with Cycling UK to launch a consideration and courtesy awareness message of ‘Be Nice, Say Hi’ to help cyclists and horse riders pass each other safely. 

Report an incident

If you are involved in a cycle/equine related problem, please report your concerns to us. It will help us to establish the scale of the problem and how we can work with the various related organisations on good practice. If you know any of any local cycling events please let us know so we can inform local equestrians in the area to be aware while riding out.