On 29 January 2022, the Highway Code changed to reflect a new hierarchy of road users. It was well publicised but the discussions focused mainly on cyclists, leaving other important road users out.
One group of road users often left out of discussions are horses and riders. Horses and their riders have a right to use the road and, in the hierarchy of road users, cars, motorbikes and cyclists should respect them.
Other road users often fail to provide warning to the rider that they are approaching, give enough space when passing, or adequately slow down (if at all) which can result in an accident.
In 2015, a group called Pass Wide and Slow (PWAS) was set up to raise awareness of riders on the road. Their aim is to educate road users on how to pass horses safely and support riders on the road. PWAS organise rides to raise awareness and have a Facebook page entitled Pass Wide and Slow[i] which has useful information on how to respect a rider when on the road.
PWAS encourages ALL riders to use head cams when riding so that dangerous driving can be identified and reported. Crucially, the information captured in the event of an accident can assist in tracking down the other road user, enabling the injured party to bring action in a Personal Injury claim for damages caused by negligent actions. Not only will the negligent road user be sued for damages and losses of the rider but the cost of vet bills can be included in a claim too. Prosecution of the road user is also likely.
The Highway Code[ii] states “Be particularly careful of horse riders and horse-drawn vehicles especially when approaching, overtaking, passing or moving away. Always pass wide and slowly. When you see a horse on a road, you should slow down to a maximum of 10 mph. Be patient, do not sound your horn or rev your engine. When safe to do so, pass wide and slow, allowing at least 2 metres of space”.
The damage caused by a moving vehicle colliding with a horse and rider can be catastrophic for all parties involved and result in life changing injuries, most often for the rider. Naturally, no one wants to be harmed in an accident, particularly one that involves an animal that is likely a very important part of the owner and/or rider’s life.
If you have been injured in a riding accident on the road, contact our specialist team who are here to help guide you through a claim for damages and assist you on the road to recovery. Our team can be contacted on:
Exeter 01392 285000 Cullompton 01884 33818