Road Safety News

Equestrian charity calls for national speed limit reduction on rural roads

Tuesday 21st November 2017

A new report has recommended reducing the national speed limit on roads where there is frequent equestrian activity.

The report was commissioned by the British Horse Society (BHS) and authored by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) to address a ‘lack of evidence-based research currently available about what horse riders should do to protect themselves’.

The report concludes that it is unwise to have drivers travelling at 60mph on roads that are ‘routinely and regularly’ used by horse riders, especially in conditions of reduced lighting.

The report also recommends that riders should wear LED lights, ideally in a pattern that highlights the body of the horse and rider, along with bright and reflective clothing.

The BHS points to figures which show a 29% increase in accidents involving horses on Britain’s roads ‘in the last year’.

81% of these incidents occurred due to the driver not allowing enough room between the vehicle and the horse - with one in five resulting in the car colliding with the horse. The BHS also says that in the same period, ‘almost 40%’ of riders were subjected to road rage.

Since the BHS launched the horse accidents website in December 2010, more than 2,510 incidents have been reported - resulting in 38 riders and 222 horses being killed.

Alan Hiscox, director of safety at the BHS, said: “We want to reduce the number of incidents involving riders and horses on the road. Roads are getting busier, and we have seen an increase in incidents in the last year, something has to be done.

“This report recommends reducing the national speed limit on rural roads, where there is frequent equestrian activity; it could save the lives of both the horse and rider, and other vulnerable road users.”

The BHS plans to use the report to lobby Government and advise riders on the best way to be seen when riding out.

Categories: General news, Speed.


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I agree. I have no problem where a country road is reduced in speed generally to 40 mph as that would be a more appropriate speed for that road even though it may have previousy been 60 mph.

Equestrian signs are all well and good but one generally finds the horse and rider just around the next bend and that can be a problem at say 30 or 40 mph and so I slow and take it easy on bends where there are likely to be horses. That said I don't beleive there is anything to be gained by a constant reduction to say 20 mph otherwise most country roads would be have to be reduced accordingly.
m.worthington Manchester

Agree (5) | Disagree (0)

I'm probably well-known on this forum for being an advocate of speed management but.. within reason. I share the BHS' concern, but even I would have to say that this is an unreasonable demand. Prescribed warning signs are available, as they are for other rural road hazards. To absolutely guarantee safety in the immediate vicinity of horses or any animals and pedestrians on rural roads, actual speeds would have to be reduced to around 20 mph which is never going to happen on these roads. Reducing to 50 or 40, which is the most the BHS could hope for, would be academic in some cases anyway, as the roads' characteristics maintain these speeds anyway.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (8) | Disagree (1)