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The amount of collisions between a vehicle and a horse has more than doubled in Cheshire over the past year.

The British Horse Society is calling on drivers to slow down to a maximum of 15 miles an hour if they come across a horse on the road, in a bid to reduce the rise which amounts to a county-wide increase of 129%.

Two Horses have been killed in Cheshire and Flintshire within the past 12 months.

Nationally, since the Society’s web launch in 2010, 81% of incidents occurred because the driver didn’t allow enough room between their vehicle and the horse, 38 riders and 222 horses have died.

Almost 40% or riders were also subject to road rage at the scene of an incident.

The Dead Slow campaign encourages not only drivers to adapt their driving, but also riders to be made aware of the risks too.

Alan Hiscox is the organisation’s Director of Safety. He says responsibility is shared, “We’re not only talking about safer drivers, we’re actually trying to influence riders behaviour as well. In the Summer, we’ll be launching a new initiative called Ride Safe which is to enhance and develop rider’s skills when they’re riding on the roads.

“You’ve got the drivers brain, the riders and brain and of course the horses brain. They do have a flight instinct however drivers can be very influential in how they react.”

Jan Roche, Regional Manager for Wales at the BHS said, “We strongly believe that this increase is due to more people being aware of our horse accidents website. However, it’s unacceptable that horses and riders are still dying on our roads.”

“When we launched Dead Slow, a number of riders reported to us that they’d noticed drivers being more considerate, but we still have a long way to go. We will continue to work with our partners to ensure safety for all road users, including horses and rider”.

The organisation also believe that while their campaign will educate all road users about how to behave in this situation, they believe the reported increase is down to an increased awareness.

They’ve teamed up with the Department of Transport to create a THINK! video to run alongside the Dead Slow messages.

Image: Gerald England

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