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Safety signs installed to protect Staffordshire horses

7 Sept 2020

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Following pleas from local riders, eight specially commissioned ‘Dead Slow’ road signs have been installed around the village of Brewood as the threat of traffic connected to a major housing development is causing alarm to the equestrian community.

This action is the result of a collaboration between The British Horse Society (BHS), Staffordshire County Council Highways Department and Horse & Road Safety Awareness as work starts on an estate of 73 new homes.

Local resident and equestrian Sue Hayes explains: “When the news broke about the development here in Brewood, I was especially concerned about works traffic on Ivy House Lane and Four Ashes Road. Sharp bends, poor visibility – it would be an accident waiting to happen. I had seen ‘Dead Slow’ signs up in Northumberland on holiday and so I got in touch with the BHS. They contacted Staffordshire County Council’s Highways team and we then met with a community officer and the BHS’s Alan Hiscox on site to discuss what could be done.

“I am really pleased that we now have eight signs up in the village. A big thank you to the many BHS team members who helped make this happen – including BHS Regional Manager, Andrea Jackman.”

Brewood

Judi Cartwright has been riding locally for many years and knows only too well how dangerous it can be for all road users when people do not adhere to safety guidance. She says: “Brewood village has a number of blackspots – blind bends and sharp turns, with drivers using our roads as a rat run between the A5 and the A449. There is one bend that motorists regularly take too fast and end up in a farmer’s field! And that is before the construction traffic arrives.”

The BHS’s ‘Dead Slow’ campaign is designed to educate drivers on what to do when they encounter horses on the road and was launched in light of statistics showing an alarming rise in the number of incidents involving horses and riders on the road.

Alan Hiscox, Director of Safety at The BHS said: “Narrow country lanes with heavy goods vehicles meeting horses could lead to difficulties for riders and drivers , so I am really grateful to Staffordshire County Council for working with us to raise awareness of the challenges for all concerned. Horses are flight animals and may react to anything they are unsure of. If all road users are considerate and mindful of one another we can reduce the number of incidents involving horses on our roads.

“This was an excellent example of collaboration involving Sue and her friends, the Horse & Road Safety Awareness team, and the County Council.” In one year alone*, 54 road incidents in the West Midlands were reported to The British Horse Society (BHS) including the death of one person in Staffordshire. The latest statistics for the region have almost doubled compared to the previous year and equate to just over one incident a week.

The BHS collates statistics each year to understand the rate of incidents involving horses and riders on UK roads. Last year’s figures showed 845 incidents were reported to the charity, resulting in the tragic death of 87 horses and 4 people.

David Williams, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport at Staffordshire County Council, said: “Keeping our highways and all road users safe remains our top priority and our roads continue to be amongst the safest in the country.

“We’re always happy to work with and advise local communities on projects that help to improve road safety. We hope this local campaign will help to raise awareness of other road users and keep our roads even safer.”

The BHS launched its ‘Dead Slow’ road safety campaign to help better educate drivers on how to pass horses on the road. The key behavioural change messages to drivers are:

If I see a horse on the road then I will…

  • Slow down to a maximum of 15mph
  • Be patient – do not sound the horn or rev the engine
  • Pass the horse wide and slow, (if safe to do so) at least two metres distance, if possible
  • Drive slowly away.

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