Include safety of equestrians in the Highway Code Review
Welcome to Westcountry Horses.
As the British Horse Society (BHS) urgently appeals to riders to write to their MPs to ensure the safety needs of equestrians are not forgotten in the
Highway Code Review, (full
story on page six) it seems the perfect time to share my most recent encounter with a, quite frankly, bonkers car driver.
It was one of those moments, and unfortunately there’s been a few while hacking around the seemingly quiet lanes of the Tamar Valley, which have left me in a state of total disbelief, as well as incredibly frustrated.
Rewind the clock back to a rather blustery last Saturday, on which I braved the elements to take Ollie for a spin. I can’t say I am the biggest fan of riding when the winds are getting up, as I find it really plays tricks with your hearing, but having not ridden all week we wrapped up and took to the roads.
And it only took about 10 minutes before I was caused to wave my arms in a somewhat bewildered fashion. Having arrived at the junction, I positioned myself as you would in a car in the centre of the road, and clearly raised my right arm to indicate the direction in which I was planning to go. When you’re on horseback there’s no fancy flashing lights to rely on, it’s all down to hand signals and voice – they are our only tools.
A car was approaching from the left-hand side and indicating to turn right up the hill which I had just come down, so I therefore waited until they had passed before moving off. I continued to keep my right arm raised, in case another car approached from behind. Perfectly sensible and responsible, right?
Apparently not, according to this young female driver. As she turned across, leaving very little room if in anticipation Ollie took a step forward, she lifted her hands and proceeded to shout “what the f*** are you doing?” before deliberately (well, that’s what I took from the encounter) revving the engine and scooting off up the hill.
I couldn’t quite believe what had just happened. Exactly what purpose did it serve to be so downright rude? I’m not asking for the world here, just some good old-fashioned respect as a fellow road user, albeit a slower and hairier one – Ollie that is!
After a few expletives myself, we went on to have a peaceful hack, but I think I would have definitely struggled to hold my tongue if she had chosen to hang around and berate me any further. Clearly somebody didn’t bother to read the horse riders section of their Highway Code when learning to drive!