Horse owners hope for safer behaviour
Rule changes welcomed on Strath’s rural roads
Strath residents have welcomed changes to the Highway Code that could make the area’s rural roads a safer place for horses.
Lynn Stewart from Comrie regularly walks her pony, Daisy, from a field on South Crieff Road to the village and back and, like many other horse owners, has encountered dangerous behaviour from motorists on more than one occasion.
However, she is hopeful that the new legislation will make drivers more aware.
She said: “I heard that the Highway Code was getting updated and I thought ‘happy days’. I would say that the majority of drivers are respectful and knowledgeable but I would say the actions of a very small percentage are dangerous to horses.
“I think that people come to the village for the slower pace of life and then they come across a horse in the road – something that they might not normally encounter – and they don’t act appropriately.
“The horse is a flight animal and a driver’s speed needs to be such that they can react to this.
“It’s a thought for me to take my pony along the back road to Crieff when I have to take her to and from her field.”
Lynn said she has to be vigilant when walking with Daisy, or riding her on local roads.
She explained: “I walk on the opposite side of road with my pony on the inside so it’s me that’s facing the oncoming traffic.
“If I hear a car behind me going fast I signal to them to slow down but a minority don’t and, if it’s us up against a car, the car is going to win.
“I always acknowledge good drivers by giving them a thumbs up.”
Lynn continued: “The new code states that vehicles need to pass you at 10mph and they have to give you space.
“I would like to think that this will
“Drivers also need to learn that not every horse they see on the road is experienced.”
Crieff horse owner Audrey McGregor agrees that riders keeping themselves safe is paramount.
But she is not convinced that the amendments to the Highway Code will be adhered to by all motorists.
She is hoping to organise a ‘Pass Wide and Slow Ride’ event for the Strath this
year as part of a nationwide campaign to raise awareness for drivers and other road users, such as those on horses, cyclists and pedestrians.
Audrey commented: “Riding on the road is mostly safe – it’s just the odd driver you get that just won’t wait for you to either get into a safe place or for a safe place for them to pass us.
“We always ride in hi-vis [vests] and try not to ride on the roads when there’s a low sun etc.
“We really do try to keep ourselves as safe as possible.
“I’m unsure what the new rules will mean to some drivers – will they even know about the new rules?
“And it’s not always possible to give us two metres distance around here as some roads are barely that wide.”
Lynn added: “Hopefully the new code will be a good thing and there will be more awareness and we can all enjoy the diversity of our rural area.”