We welcome the inclusion of equestrians among vulnerable road-users in the Welsh Government’s recently-released Road Safety Framework for Wales, which sets out its approach to road safety until 2020.*
The Welsh Government’s decision to put horses alongside pedestrians and cyclists follows lobbying led by the British Horse Society along with Open Spaces Society members. It is expected that this new policy will cause the Welsh Government and local authorities to engage more actively with horse-riders and carriage-drivers when they are considering road safety, and it will raise the issue of safety measures where horses are regularly ridden or driven on the road network.
The Welsh Government recognises that collisions of vehicles with horses are life threatening to horse and rider, and that horses are frequently ridden and driven on roads. In rural areas, these activities contribute much to the economy.
Says Jay Kynch, our local correspondent for Rhondda Cynon Taff who is a rider: ‘I have found that not only car-drivers but also many walkers and cyclists do not understand that horses are vulnerable road-users. Better safety interventions for horse-riders and carriage-drivers are overdue and will benefit all vulnerable road-users.’
*The relevant section of Road Safety Framework for Wales is set out below.
Equestrian road users
71. Horses and their riders (as well as carriage drivers) are vulnerable on the road network. A collision between a horse and a vehicle can have life threatening consequences for the horse, rider and those in a vehicle.
72. There is evidence to suggest that the number of road traffic collisions involving horses is underreported in casualty data.
73. Horse riding is more prevalent (particularly on roads) in certain parts of the country. Rural areas have larger numbers of horse riders, who make a significant contribution to the rural economy.
i. Work with representatives of the horse riding community to understand their road safety concerns and facilitate engagement with other partners.
We expect partners to:
ii. Actively engage with the horse riding community and consider whether any road safety interventions should be introduced, where there are significant numbers of horse riders and/or road traffic collision involving horses.
You can read the full document here.