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Have Horse Sense on the Roads over Summer

Have Horse Sense on the Roads over Summer

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Horses and cars can co-exist, but drivers must slow down and take their signals from riders.

Press Release

Have Horse Sense on the Roads over Summer

As Aucklanders flee the city for their summer holiday, motorists are urged to remember that they will share the roads with more than just other vehicles. Today’s motorists and cyclists are mainly urban based and therefore less familiar with the road rules and etiquette for dealing with stock, or horses on the roads, than previous generations of drivers. Horse Sense on the Roads is a new website aimed at re-educating road users on the special needs and rights of horse riders.

Horse traffic is not restricted to quiet rural roads. Many areas with farms or lifestyle blocks have roads with high speed limits running through them. Drivers must be aware of, and able to give way to animals on the road at all times.

Speeding objects, unexpected noises, or sights can all trigger a horse’s instinct to flee. When approaching any horse and rider (or person leading a horse), all vehicles should slow down and ensure that they give the horse plenty of room. In some situations, such as a narrow road or on a bridge, or at any time when the horse appears frightened vehicles may need to stop.

“Horses, cycles, and pedestrians are all entitled to use the road system, alongside vehicles.” says Vivien Dostine from the Recreational Horse Riders Group, creators of ‘Horse Sense on the Roads’. The road code sets out rules for road users, if they meet horse riders or stock on the roads. “You can be charged with careless or dangerous driving, if you are not careful around horses. More importantly, when a horse is frightened it does not think about what direction it runs or leaps. If you frighten a horse, it may end up in or on your vehicle, or the vehicle following you.” Collisions between a horse and vehicle are thankfully rare, due to the caution of riders, but when they do occur they result in serious injuries and deaths to the people involved, and inevitably the horse dies.

Riders are permitted to ride in double file, placing an older more experienced horse (or rider) nearest the traffic. All road users should watch out for horse riders' signals, and heed any request to slow down or stop. Treat all horses as a potential hazard and expect the unexpected! Even experienced, well trained horses can be scared by unexpected noises or sights. It is impossible to tell from a distance whether either the horse or its rider is old, experienced and tolerant, or young, inexperienced and nervous.

The website and publications provide information specific to each of the major road user groups including motorcycles, trail bikes, cyclists and pedestrians. It also provides safety tips for riders, along with information for safe towing.

For more information about how horses perceive the world, and how to stay safe on the roads around horse traffic visit the website Horse Sense on the Roads http://www.horsesenseontheroads.info


LTSA Advice for safe driving near horses
• Slow down and pass carefully, giving the horse and rider plenty of room.
• Don't sound your horn, rev your engine or pass at speed, as this could frighten the horse.
• If the horse and rider are on a bridge or narrow road, be very careful – slow down or stop.
• If the horse appears frightened, stop.
• Two vehicles should avoid passing near a horse.
Be careful around horse traffic. If you aren't, you could be charged with careless or dangerous driving.

© Scoop Media

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