Opin­ions di­vided on elec­tric cars

Some rid­ers fear silent ve­hi­cles, but no ac­ci­dents have been re­ported so far

Horse & Hound - - News Insider - By RACHAEL TURNER

RID­ERS con­cerned elec­tric cars could be more dan­ger­ous than con­ven­tional ve­hi­cles can be re­as­sured, ac­cord­ing to the Bri­tish Horse Society (BHS).

Some feel the ve­hi­cles’ lack of noise means they are a po­ten­tial haz­ard to horses, but oth­ers be­lieve they pose no greater threat than stan­dard cars — and the

BHS says no in­ci­dents in­volv­ing elec­tric cars have been re­ported to its horse ac­ci­dents web­site.

North Wales-based Dani Spencer had a fright­en­ing in­ci­dent in­volv­ing an elec­tric car when hack­ing.

“It scared me and my horse as it flew around a coun­try bend nearly tak­ing us out,” she told H&H. “Had I heard an en­gine, I would have been able to find a safer point to al­low it to pass.”

Kerry Tyrell’s 10-year-old mare, High Moons An­gel, was also spooked by an elec­tric car.

“I only re­alised it was there when my horse jumped for­ward,” she said. “It was like a bike had ap­proached us with­out warn­ing.”

Blind rider Marie Jane Howarth de­scribed elec­tric cars as a “men­ace”.

“I’m usu­ally the one telling other rid­ers on the hack I can hear a car com­ing, but I can’t of­fer the same with elec­tric cars,” she told H&H. “I re­cently nearly jumped out of my skin when one crept up be­hind us.”

Other rid­ers be­lieve elec­tric cars are no more of a threat than fuel-pow­ered ve­hi­cles, or safer to en­counter on the roads.

“My former horse didn’t bat an eye­lid when he came across one,” said one rider, who wished to re­main anony­mous.

“He was ner­vous of traffic noise — the nois­ier the vehicle, the big­ger his re­ac­tion. Elec­tric cars were al­ways some­thing that passed us with no is­sue.”

A LESSER EVIL?

ROAD safety cam­paigner Deb­bie Smith, who founded the Pass

Wide And Slow group, said rid­ers should con­sider horses’ wider field of vi­sion.

“They can see things com­ing from be­hind that we might not,” she told H&H. “It is we rid­ers who don’t al­ways know they’re there. Speak­ing per­son­ally, my prob­lems on the roads have been from boy rac­ers with noisy en­gines.”

Alan His­cox, BHS di­rec­tor of safety, said the char­ity has had no in­ci­dents in­volv­ing horses spooked by elec­tric cars re­ported on its ac­ci­dents web­site.

“We have been con­tacted by nu­mer­ous rid­ers who are con­cerned about elec­tric cars,” he told H&H. “How­ever, if driv­ers slowed down to 15mph and al­lowed at least a car’s width when pass­ing the horse, the sound of the tyres and the all-round aware­ness of the horse should alert the rider that a car is go­ing to pass.

“This re­lies on rid­ers to con­cen­trate and be aware of their sur­round­ings. The rider has a very se­ri­ous re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure their safety too.”

What do you think about elec­tric cars? Email: hh­let­ters@timeinc.com

Elec­tric cars are qui­eter but not nec­es­sar­ily more dan­ger­ous

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