No horsing around, watch out for them
Whether you think horses are a lovely sight on our Queenstown roads or you are of the belief that they are an outdated mode of transport and roads should be for cars only, there are some things you should consider.
Horse riders would like to be able to be safe while out riding, but some drivers will always be more focused on themselves than on other road users.
Before you have to make the quick decision about how to react to a horse ahead of you on the road, ponder the following.
The New Zealand Transport Agency tells us that we should slow down and pass horses carefully, giving them plenty of room.
It also suggests you don’t sound your horn, rev your engine or pass a horse at speed.
It concludes with a warning headed up ‘‘important’’. The warning is: ‘‘Be careful around horse traffic. If you aren’t you could be charged with careless or dangerous driving.’’
The penalty for these offences ranges from a fine of up to $4500, three months imprisonment and/ or a period of disqualification from driving.
Worth slowing down?
If you think it is still worth being inconsiderate to other road users, consider the horse in the photo.
He weighs about 750 kilograms. That’s the equivalent of eight people.
The design of a horse is bad from the point of view of the driver of a car. Most of that 750kg is concentrated in the part of the body that will come through the windscreen.
That’s the equivalent of about eight people, arriving at whatever speed the car is going, into the lap of the driver.
Assuming the driver survives this, which may not be likely, then the charges above come into play on discharge from hospital. Worth slowing down?
If you find yourself sharing the road this festive season, remem- ber the NZTA guidelines.
Look out in particular for the horse rider waving their hand up and down.
This is their signal they need you, the driver, to slow down.
Give them the Christmas present of a couple more seconds of your time to pass them wide and slow. If you are the horse rider, don’t forget to give a wave of appreciation as well.
Jacob Wilkinson, 11, of Lake Hayes Estate prepares to take Giddy for a ride.