29th March 2020

New online reporting system launched to help increase horse rider safety

Mount section on patrol in Bristol

Avon and Somerset Police’s mounted section is teaming up with the British Horse Society launching a new online reporting system for horse riders, which in turn aims to educate drivers and riders of their responsibilities when using the road.

All road users caught up in near misses involving horses can use their new online reporting system. The system gives people the opportunity to share information on individuals, vehicles involved in a near miss, as well as the option to upload video footage. This new way of reporting has been developed for horse riders to help police capture data and get a better understanding of hot spots around the area to help make the roads safer for everyone.

Nationally since 2010, over 2,900 road incidents involving horses, have been reported and within that figure 39 riders and 230 horses have been killed. With the launch of the British Horse Society’s Dead Slow campaign, 2016 saw a 29% increase in reports of road related incidents involving horses. Approximately 84% of these incidents occurred when drivers passed horses and riders too closely, at speed or are not aware of what is required to safely pass the horse and rider.

PC Vicki Ephgrave of the Mounted section said “Road users are in near misses every day and this new online reporting system is really important in providing us with vital information on areas we need to focus our efforts on  to make them as safe as possible for everyone. We’d like to remind anyone who’s been in a near miss to please report it using this new online function. Don’t just  leave it just because you’re not injured or an incident didn’t occur, you may find yourself in that situation again and not be so lucky.”

There are some simple steps motorists can take when approaching a horse, they include:

  • Drivers slow down to 15mph when passing a horse.
  • Be patient, don’t sound your horn or rev your engine.
  • Pass the horse wide at least a car’s width where possible
  • Drive slowly away

Police are also asking riders to be responsible when out riding by following these simple steps:

  • Wear high visibility clothing when riding on the road so that both horse and rider can easily be seen.
  •  Be alert and aware of your surroundings and environment, don’t talk or text on your mobile phone whilst riding on the road.
  • Use clear  and decisive hand signals to warn other road users of your intentions
  • If you are riding a horse that is not used to roads, make sure you are accompanied by an experienced rider and horse
  • Be courteous and acknowledge considerate and good drivers.

Information provided through the online reporting system will help police capture data to identify the most prominent areas where incidents occur. In cases where evidence exists of an offence and it is in the public interest to do so, it may be that information provided will go towards issuing a warning under section 59 of the Police Reform Act 2002 where a motorist can receive a 12 month warning on their vehicle for Anti-Social Behaviour.

If you’ve been involved in a near miss you can make a report online using the following link: www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/horses