'It's very scary' - Horse riders in Wiltshire concerned over rise in dangerous driving

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Horse riders in rural parishes in Wiltshire say they have seen an increase in dangerous and abusive behaviour from drivers.

Wiltshire Police is now calling on drivers to slow down and leave enough space when passing vulnerable road users, including riders.

Megan Stickland, who is a professional horse rider in Foxham, told ITV News things have gone worse since the closure of the B3069 Lyneham Banks.

The road has been closed since February 2022 after a landslip caused parts of it to slip 25 metres down the hill. It is too unstable for work to go ahead to fix it.

Megan said: "It means there's a lot of traffic cutting through from Chippenham to Lyneham through the country roads, and they are certainly going a lot faster than we'd like them to."

She says it's not just the speed at which motorists are travelling but their attitude, with some shouting and swearing at riders.

Megan added: "It's definitely their attitude. Sometimes I have to ask them to slow down or potentially even stop due to the fact that I can feel my horses manner and how he's feeling.

Megan Stickland rides on the roads around Foxham several times a day. Credit: ITV News West Country

"If there's a pigeon in the hedge next to me, my horse might spook and jump out into the road.

"And so if I ask you to stop it, it's not because I'm being rude or obnoxious. It's because I understand my horse slightly better. And I know that there might be a potential collision about to happen."

Megan is one of many riders in the area who say drivers are becoming more aggressive - refusing to slow down or to leave enough space.

Marian Pritchard has been riding in the area for the past 60 years.

She told ITV News West Country: "If you can see a car coming towards you and you can see that it isn't going to slow down, it's very scary.

"You're looking for your escape route before you even think of anything else to be honest.

"I've certainly had situations where cars have come in behind, where my stirrup is almost touching their side windows."

Wiltshire Police have been carrying out increased patrols in the area following concerns raised by residents and more road collisions taking place on the county's roads.

PCSO Mark Cook, from Wiltshire Police, said there have been 13 fatal crashes on the county's roads in the year. One of those fatalities involved a rider whose horse spooked at a motorbike approaching a blind bend.

"We want to make sure that we don't have any more," he said. "One is too many, but 13 is far too many."

He added: "So off the back of that, we were making sure we've come out speaking to our vulnerable road users, trying to encourage our horse riders to wear high-vis and to maybe invest in a helmet cam or body cams.

"We will look at that footage and it would help us to have the evidence then to maybe prosecute a driver."