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 enhancing their security.
Two extra horses have already been killed on the street in 2023, in line with the British Horse Society (BHS), which launched its 2022 statistics on 29 January.
The figures, described as “surprising” by BHS director of security Alan Hiscox, present that just about 10 incidents had been reported for daily final yr – a complete of three,552. It is 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 mentioned. “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 at first of 2023.”
Mr Hiscox instructed 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 at the least two metres’ distance, and put riders above vehicles 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 mentioned. “I’m very disenchanted 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 mentioned that when the BHS security workforce had a stand at motor reveals 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 mentioned. “The AA did a survey and over 60% of drivers had been unaware. For these first three months, we thought, ‘That is truly going to make a distinction’ however had been very disenchanted. So we’re calling for extra to be finished. We’re a part of the weak street consumer 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’ data.”
The BHS might be among the many organisations asking for an even 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 mentioned the plan is to maintain pushing the BHS Lifeless Sluggish marketing campaign to as many individuals as potential. And in addition to extra motor reveals this yr, the stand might be at occasions such because the NEC Caravan, Tenting and Motorhome Present subsequent month, which is predicted to draw some 100,000 guests, and driving instructors’ conferences. Extra “shut move” occasions are additionally anticipated to be run with police forces.
“It’s attempting to get the knowledge, data and understanding out to encourage that fascinating behaviour,” Mr Hiscox mentioned. “The Freeway Code change was a seismic step to extend the protection of horses on the roads, nevertheless 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 ok. The figures and the lack of awareness are surprising.”
The BHS has lengthy urged riders to report all incidents on the roads; it believes solely 10% of incidents are reported through its web site, however a few of the improve this yr could also be right down to extra folks doing so through its devoted Horse i app, which was launched in March 2021.
“The extra incidents which can be logged, the extra the BHS can do to guard the rights of horse riders on Britain’s roads,” a BHS spokesman mentioned.
A DfT spokesman instructed H&H the Freeway Code modifications’ goal is “to enhance security for folks biking, strolling and horse using, and we invested over £1.3m in our THINK! marketing campaign which has elevated consciousness and understanding of the modifications over the past yr”.
“Now we have labored carefully with a gaggle of stakeholders representing all street customers to develop the marketing campaign, with many additionally supporting the marketing campaign on their very own channels,” he mentioned.
He added that DfT stats present that 83% of street customers had heard of the modifications by final August, and that they may proceed to be promoted through the THINK! social media. The DfT will take 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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