County partnership welcomes new road safety signage
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Northamptonshire Safer Roads Alliance has welcomed the installation of three new road signs in the county which encourages drivers to slow down around horses.
Signs have been put up in Little Brington, Lower Harlestone and Church Brampton as part of The British Horse Society’s Dead Slow campaign, launched in 2017.
As part of the nationwide awareness campaign, drivers and motorcyclists are urged to slow down to a maximum of 15 miles per hour when they encounter horses on the road, and to give riders plenty of room when overtaking or passing them.
The signage has been funded by the UK’s largest equine charity after some of its members raised concerns about the dangers of other road users driving past riders too fast and too close at these locations.
Northamptonshire Police’s Safer Roads Operations Manager, Matthew O’Connell, who sits on the NSRA Strategic Board, said: “Horses and their riders are a common sight in our rural communities, and therefore we’re happy to support the new signs.
“The signs will help to remind everyone that our roads are shared spaces, where all users have a right to respect and a responsibility to help keep themselves and others safe.”
In the 12 months between February 29, 2020, and the end of February this year, 1,010 road incidents involving horses were reported to The British Horse Society - 80 per cent were due to drivers passing too close and 45 per cent too quickly.
The Highway Code states motorists should give motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders at least as much room as they would when overtaking a car, and the British Horse Society recommends drivers should:
• Slow down to a maximum of 15mph
• Be patient, don’t sound your horn or rev your engine
• Pass the horse wide and slow, (if safe to do so) at least a car's width if possible
• Drive slowly away
Matthew added: “Taking time to slow right down and pass horses with plenty of room, whether overtaking or going in the opposite direction, keeps you as a driver safer, as well as protecting the rider and their horse. Even if they can’t safely take a hand off the reins to say thank you, they’ll really appreciate it.
“We would also encourage riders to make sure they and their horse are easy to spot by using high visibility clothing and accessories, and to thank considerate drivers whenever it is safe to do so.”
For more information about The British Horse Society’s Dead Slow campaign, click here.