A TOTAL of 68 horses died on Britain’s roads final yr and 125 had been injured, regardless of modifications to the Freeway Code geared toward bettering their security.
Two extra horses have already been killed on the street in 2023, in accordance with the British Horse Society (BHS), which launched its 2022 statistics on 29 January.
The figures, described as “stunning” by BHS director of security Alan Hiscox, present that just about 10 incidents had been reported for every single day final yr – a complete of three,552. This can be a 21% total improve from 2021, when 66 horses had been killed. The variety of horses injured has decreased barely, from 129, however the variety of riders injured has gone up from 126 to 139.
“Horses are nonetheless being killed and injured on our roads, riders proceed to be critically injured and too many drivers underestimate the significance of driving rigorously round horses,” Mr Hiscox stated. “That is detrimental to the protection of equestrians. You solely have to have a look at the 2 horses who had been tragically killed in simply two weeks firstly of 2023.”
Mr Hiscox informed H&H he feels “frustration and disappointment” on the stats, particularly after final yr’s Freeway Code modifications, which state that horses ought to be handed at a most 10mph and no less than two metres’ distance, and put riders above automobiles within the new hierarchy of street customers.
“Within the three months after the Freeway Code modified, we did see incidents drop, however now they’re as much as the degrees of earlier than the modifications got here in,” he stated. “I’m very dissatisfied in the way in which the modifications had been publicised they usually appear to have dropped off the DfT [Department for Transport] menu.”
Mr Hiscox stated that when the BHS security group had a stand at motor exhibits final summer time, they spoke to guests in regards to the modifications.
“At Silversone, 76% of individuals we spoke to didn’t learn about them, and at Goodwood, it was 87%,” he stated. “The AA did a survey and over 60% of drivers had been unaware. For these first three months, we thought, ‘That is really going to make a distinction’ however had been very dissatisfied. So we’re calling for extra to be achieved. We’re a part of the weak street person group and I used to be actually inspired we had been put alongside pedestrians and cyclists within the hierarchy of street customers, however that message remains to be woefully lacking from plenty of drivers’ information.”
The BHS shall be among the many organisations asking for a much bigger push on the modifications; it really works with Highway Security GB, street security partnerships throughout the nation, driving instructors’ associations and lots of extra.
Mr Hiscox stated the plan is to maintain pushing the BHS Useless Sluggish marketing campaign to as many individuals as attainable. And in addition to extra motor exhibits this yr, the stand shall be at occasions such because the NEC Caravan, Tenting and Motorhome Present subsequent month, which is anticipated to draw some 100,000 guests, and driving instructors’ conferences. Extra “shut go” occasions are additionally anticipated to be run with police forces.
“It’s making an attempt to get the knowledge, information and understanding out to encourage that fascinating behaviour,” Mr Hiscox stated. “The Freeway Code change was a seismic step to extend the protection of horses on the roads, however it must be bolstered on a regular basis and that’s what we’re pushing for. The AA says it, Biking UK says it; the general public marketing campaign wasn’t adequate. The figures and the lack of understanding are stunning.”
The BHS has lengthy urged riders to report all incidents on the roads; it believes solely 10% of incidents are reported by way of its web site, however a number of the improve this yr could also be right down to extra individuals doing so by way of its devoted Horse i app, which was launched in March 2021.
“The extra incidents which might be logged, the extra the BHS can do to guard the rights of horse riders on Britain’s roads,” a BHS spokesman stated.
A DfT spokesman informed H&H the Freeway Code modifications’ intention is “to enhance security for individuals biking, strolling and horse driving, and we invested over £1.3m in our THINK! marketing campaign which has elevated consciousness and understanding of the modifications over the past yr”.
“We’ve labored carefully with a bunch of stakeholders representing all street customers to develop the marketing campaign, with many additionally supporting the marketing campaign on their very own channels,” he stated.
He added that DfT stats present that 83% of street customers had heard of the modifications by final August, and that they’ll proceed to be promoted by way of the THINK! social media. The DfT will have a look at “additional marketing campaign exercise in future”.
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Credit score: PushtheBoatOut.co.uk
Credit score: BHS
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