Joint June Bank Holiday Appeal to Motorists to ‘Pass Wide and Slow’ When Meeting Horse Riders and other Vulnerable Road Usersroad safety 31.05.2023
The Road Safety Authority (RSA), and An Garda Síochána (AGS) have teamed up with Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) and Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) to produce a series of videos to inform motorists how to share the roads safely with horse riders. series of videos
Road users are being urged to be cautious and to ‘pass wide and slow’ when encountering horse riders, as well as other vulnerable road users. Road users should watch and share the new series of videos to familiarise themselves with best practice when they encounter horses on the road. Road users should also remain alert when approaching places where horses are likely to appear, including riding schools and racing yards.
A survey1 of over 1,700 horse riders found that cars and jeeps have been involved in the highest percentage of reported incidents with horses on the roads. The remaining share of reported incidents were equally divided among those who cycle, vans, lorries and agricultural machinery.
It also found that four in five (85%) horse riders had experienced a road safety incident when on the road with their horse at some point, with 12% of those incidents resulting in injury to either the horse or rider. These findings have led RSA, HSI, HRI and An Garda Siochana to create the series of videos to inform motorists and those who cycle what to do when they encounter horses on the road.
Motorists and those who cycle are reminded that if they meet a horse and rider on the public road they should always:
- Slow down
- Pass wide
- Obey the hand signals of the rider
Motorists should never:
- use the horn
- rev the engine
- flash the lights
The RSA and AGS are also reminding drivers that the summer holiday season is one of the busiest periods for all road users, and drivers should slow down and remain vigilant when travelling over this summer period. Sadly, there have been 20 fatalities and 94 serious injuries on the roads over the June Bank Holiday Period since 2018.
Mr Sam Waide, CEO Road Safety Authority said: “Road users should be alert when travelling but especially over the summer months as there are more vulnerable road users such as horse riders using the roads. If you encounter a horse, please use best practices such as passing wide and slow, obeying the rider’s hand signals and avoid using the horn, air brakes or lights as they may startle or blind a horse.”
Minister of State at the Department of Transport and at the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications, Jack Chambers said: “We are approaching the summer, which is typically a very busy time of the year on our roads and as such a high-risk period. We must remember to stay safe on the road during these months. All road users have a duty of care to share the road in a safe and socially responsible way. I hope that all road users will find this new series of videos useful as they demonstrate best practices guidelines when sharing the roads specifically with horse riders. These videos provide real clarity on what we should all do when we meet a horse rider on the public road.
Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman, Roads Policing and Community Engagement, An Garda Síochána said: “The June Bank Holiday period is one of the busiest periods on our roads and when road users are at the highest risk of being involved in fatal collisions. In 2022, there were 8 fatalities and 18 serious injuries during this period and I am appealing to all road users to slow down and exercise caution so as to avoid this devastating impact to families and communities across the country. Motorists should be particularly mindful of vulnerable road users.
An Garda Síochána will be focusing on the enforcement of the key lifesaver offences of speeding, non-wearing of seatbelts, using a mobile phone while driving and intoxicated driving, which research has shown are significant contributory factors to road traffic collisions. This means that motorists should slow down, wear their seat belt, avoid distractions and never drive while under the influence of drink or drugs.”
Suzanne Eade, CEO of Horse Racing Ireland said: “There is a shared responsibility for road safety from all road users so we are delighted to partner with the Road Safety Authority with their horse road safety appeal. The videos have lots of useful guidelines to explain to motorists how to share the roads safely with horses and their riders. I would encourage everyone to familiarise themselves with the guidelines, especially as the busy summer period approaches. We all have a part to play in sharing the road safely.”
Denis Duggan, CEO of Horse Sport Ireland said: “We are delighted that this series of videos is now available and will help raise awareness of what to do when road users meet horse riders on the road. Horses are live animals and can be unpredictable, so it is important that all road users familiarise themselves with the rules of the road.
He added, "These videos will assist in explaining those rules in a very easy to understand way. I would encourage everyone to take a few minutes to watch the videos and I want to take this opportunity to compliment the creative team and those in the Road Safety Authority for this initiative, which Horse Sport Ireland has been happy to support.”
To view the new video series please see here
The RSA guidelines for ‘Horse Road Safety on Public Roads’ are available here.
This June Bank Holiday Weekend drivers are being reminded that the RSA and participating Applegreen service stations are providing free cups of coffee to motorists to combat driver fatigue. The offer is available from 2pm to 8pm on Friday 2nd and on Monday 5th June.
To date in 2023 there have been 77 fatalities on the road. This is an increase of 13 deaths compared to the same date last year.
 Horse Road Safety Survey 2021, carried out by Siobhan English, International Equine Journalist, and Anne O’Connor, Senior Ride and Road Safety Trainer & Examiner Irish Pony Club.
|All Fatalities and serious injuries (June Bank Holiday 7am Thurs to 7am Tue 2018-2022)
|Serious Injury Collisions
*An Garda Síochána, Serious Injuries only refer to those resulting from a Serious Injury Collision. Figures are provisional and subject to change.
Tips for motorists and riders when sharing the roads:
For road users:
- Be alert when approaching riding schools, racing yards or places where horses are likely to appear.
- Take special care when overtaking horses or horse-drawn vehicles. This is particularly relevant at junctions where motorists are advised to keep a safe distance from horses and riders.
- Pass by slowly, driving wide of the horse and ride, while obeying the rider’/s hand signals
- Don’t use your brakes, horn or flash your lights in a way that might startle or blind a horse.
- Those who cycle should approach cautiously, ensuring that the horse rider can see or hear you approaching.
- Be Safe, Be Seen- especially from the hours of dawn to dusk
- Remain on the left-hand side of the road when both riding your horse and leading in
hand. When leading your horse, position yourself between the horse being led and the traffic so that you have maximum control over the horse.
- Give clear and accurate hand signals to let other road users know your intentions.
- Remain alert, attentive, and observant. Remember the Life Saver Look (over the shoulder) at junctions – it could save your life.
- Be Safe, Be Seen- Always make sure that drivers can always see you regardless of weather conditions by wearing proper protective gear, high-visibility clothing and put high-visibility equipment on your horse and give clear hand signals.