Drivers urged to give horses a wide berth

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A road safety campaign to reduce injuries and deaths as a result of vehicles passing too close to horses has been launched by Police Scotland, with support from the British Horse Society and Glasgow City Council.

The ‘Lose the Blinkers’ campaign is aimed at all road users, with particular emphasis in places like Arran, where many horse riders exercise them in the evenings and at weekends.

According to the British Horse Society, since 2010 there have been 50 riders injured, two deaths, 43 horses injured and 10 horses killed on Scotland’s roads. Many of these have been due to vehicles either colliding or passing too close to the horse, causing them to throw the rider or to panic and bolt.

Society director of safety Alan Hiscox said: ‘We want to remind drivers that horses can be unpredictable, and even the most well-trained horse can react to its instincts and want to move quickly away from what they consider to be a threat. It is worth remembering that there are three brains working when a horse and rider meet a vehicle on the road, the driver’s, the rider’s and the horses’. There is room for everyone on the road if we all show some consideration.’

Inspector Janet Dickie from Police Scotland’s road policing division, said:
‘I am urging all drivers to give horses as much room as possible when you pass, as failure to give sufficient space is considered careless or even dangerous driving and drivers face prosecution for failing to do so. Likewise, I am urging all horse riders to make sure they are as visible as possible, particularly as the days shorten, by wearing high visibility clothing, using lights and giving clear signals.’