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  1. ITV Report

Charity asks road users to THINK! when overtaking horses

Photo: British Horse Society

The largest equine charity in the UK, the British Horse Society (BHS) launched its Dead Slow campaign in order to educate drivers on how to safely pass a horse on the road.

It comes after 62 incidents on the road resulted in the death of a horse in the North West alone.

The BHS partnered up with the Department for Transport to produce a THINK! Video.

The campaign urges drivers to slow down to a maximum of 15mph when they meet a horse and rider on the road, and to leave at least a car width between their vehicle and the horse, passing wide and slow, without revving their engine or sounding their horn.

Horses can be unpredictable, and even the most well-trained horse can react to its instincts and want to move quickly away from what they consider to be a threat. It is worth remembering that there are three brains working when a horse and rider meet a vehicle on the road, the driver's, the rider's and the horses'.

The network of safe off-road bridleways and byways for riders are under threat, with some routes becoming completely inaccessible for horse riders. Quite often, horse riders are riding from a riding school to a bridleway or from one bridleway to another, forcing them onto the roads.

Since the launch of the BHS' horse accidents website in November 2010:

  • There has been 2,510 road incidents involving horses
  • 38 riders have died
  • 222 horses died at the scene, or were put to sleep as a result of their injuries

In the past year:

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

Despite the increase in the number of incidents on Britain's roads, the BHS believes that this is due to more people being aware of their horse accidents website and reporting their accidents.