Urge your MP to back High­way Code re­view to re­duce eques­trian ca­su­al­ties

Western Morning News - - Horses -

The Bri­tish Horse So­ci­ety (BHS) is ur­gently ap­peal­ing to the gen­eral pub­lic to write to their MP to en­sure the safety needs of eques­tri­ans are not for­got­ten in the High­way Code Re­view.

It comes as Trans­port Min­is­ter, Jesse Nor­man, sug­gested in a Com­mons de­bate on road safety this week that the Dutch Reach could be added to the High­way Code to pro­tect vul­ner­a­ble road users.

The ma­noeu­vre forces driv­ers to look over their shoul­der be­fore open­ing a ve­hi­cle door – giv­ing them the chance to spot cy­clists, pedes­tri­ans and horse rid­ers.

Alan His­cox, di­rec­tor of safety for the BHS, said: “We'd like to say a big thank-you to all our mem­bers that have writ­ten to their MP’s so far.

“We’re re­ally pleased that horse and car­riage driv­ers were men­tioned in the Road Safety De­bate in Par­lia­ment, along with our Dead Slow cam­paign.”

To date, ac­cord­ing to BHS statis­tics, 237 horses and 40 rid­ers have been killed as a re­sult of their in­juries fol­low­ing a road in­ci­dent. Some 899 horses have been in­jured and 85% of th­ese in­ci­dents are be­cause driv­ers pass too fast or too close.

Mr His­cox added: “Now is a cru­cial time for con­stituents to write to their MP to urge them to raise the ques­tion as to why the needs of eques­tri­ans were not ref­er­enced in the pro­posed re­view.

“To im­prove the safety of all vul­ner­a­ble road users it is vi­tal that MPs ask that con­sid­er­a­tion is given to re­view and strengthen the word­ing of Sec­tion 163 (Over­tak­ing) and Sec­tion 215 (Horse rid­ers and horse-drawn ve­hi­cles).

“The ad­vice and guid­ance should not only ex­plain why driv­ers should take ex­tra care and slow down when pass­ing horses but also the con­se­quences of pass­ing too close and too fast.”

Speak­ing in the de­bate, Mr Nor­man said he ex­pected changes to be made to driv­ing lessons and the High­way Code to stop driv­ers act­ing dan­ger­ously.

The min­is­ter said more than 14,000 con­sul­ta­tion re­sponses had been re­ceived about how to make roads safer for pedes­tri­ans and cy­clists. “We’re still care­fully analysing all con­tri­bu­tions but some trends have al­ready emerged,” he ex­plained.

“One of those, and it bears very much on the con­cerns about horse rid­ers, is the fear of be­ing closep­a­ssed, which is ex­tremely scary, so work­ing to tackle that dan­ger­ous be­hav­iour is one of the themes in our re­sponse.

“We will be re­view­ing parts of the High­way Code, which will not only high­light how to avoid the dan­gers of close-pass­ing but also en­cour­age peo­ple to adopt the Dutch Reach. This is a method of open­ing the door with the hand fur­thest from the han­dle to force driv­ers to look over their shoul­der for pass­ing traf­fic.”

Mr Nor­man said the ben­e­fit of mak­ing th­ese changes would make roads safer for all users and en­cour­age peo­ple to see walk­ing and cy­cling as “the nat­u­ral choice” in­stead of driv­ing short dis­tances.

The min­is­ter added he hoped the changes would be launched be­fore the end of this year. “We’re in the mid­dle of a safety re­view of cy­cling and walk­ing and other vul­ner­a­ble road users gen­er­ally, in­clud­ing horse rid­ers,” he said.

“We haven’t yet re­ported on that but I ex­pect we will do so by the end of this year and we will cover a very wide range of po­ten­tial in­ter­ven­tions that im­prove cy­cling safety and that goes to­wards bet­ter in­fra­struc­ture.”

The Bri­tish Horse So­ci­ety (BHS) has long cam­paigned to make driv­ers aware of what to do when they en­counter horses on the roadIM­AGE: EMILY WHIT­FIELD-WICKS

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