Opinions divided on electric cars
Some riders fear silent vehicles, but no accidents have been reported so far
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.”
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Electric cars are quieter but not necessarily more dangerous