Horses and motorists: Go Dead Slow

The British Horse Society is urging riders and motorists to take simple measures to cut the shocking

The British Horse Society is urging riders and motorists to take simple measures to cut the shocking numbers - Credit: Archant

In the past six years 36 riders and 181 horses have been killed on the UK’s roads. With June the peak of accidents, the British Horse Society urges riders and motorists to take simple measures to cut the shocking numbers

After months of dark and wet conditions, early summer encourages people to make the most of the longer days and lighter evenings. This means that the roads are a lot busier, not only with cars and other vehicle but also horses and riders too.

Statistics collected by the British Horse Society show that in June the number of road accidents between horses and motorists is higher than any other month of the year.

The frightening numbers reveal that more than 2,000 road accidents have been reported to the charity throughout the UK, resulting in 36 rider deaths and 181 horse fatalities, since the launch of the horse accidents website in 2010. In Hertfordshire alone there have been 56 road accidents reported, that caused three severe rider injuries and three horses being killed outright or put down due to injury.

The BHS launched a campaign this year urging drivers to pass horses wide and slow – at a maximum 15mph and with at least a car width space between themselves and the animal.

The campaign, named Dead Slow, has been launched nationally. You may have seen the campaign on the news, on posters, heard about it on the radio or seen petrol pumps at supermarket forecourts advertising it.

If you are riding out on horseback this summer, remember it is also very important to wear the correct safety equipment, including hi-visibility clothing no matter what time of day or weather, so that you can easily be seen on the road. Hi-viz clothing gives drivers extra vital seconds to see riders and horses and act accordingly.

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The charity would also like to remind riders how important it is to acknowledge drivers who pass safely, using hand signals to say thank you. If you need to keep both hands on the reins then a nod and smile will show the driver that you have acknowledged their actions.

If you need to know more about road safety then the BHS offers a Riding and Road Safety test so you can be fully competent when riding out on the road.

The BHS is also working with the government and a number of MPs have supported the campaign, which is a big step forward in lobbying the topic of horse road safety.

Both riders and drivers are responsible for their safety on the road. With a little patience and considerate actions we can all help reduce the number of horse-related accidents on the UK’s roads.

Full details of the Dead Slow campaign can be found at

Herts Horse Diary

June 1

RVC Lecture Series: Through the Keyhole

June 5 Braughing Park and Ride

June 12 Wheathampstead Park and Ride

June 19 Lilley Park and Ride

Find out more about these events at