68 horses killed on Britain’s roads in 2022 and 139 riders injured

  • A TOTAL of 68 horses died on Britain’s roads final yr and 125 had been injured, regardless of adjustments to the Freeway Code aimed toward bettering their security.

    Two extra horses have already been killed on the highway in 2023, in response to the British Horse Society (BHS), which launched its 2022 statistics on 29 January.

    The figures, described as “surprising” by BHS director of security Alan Hiscox, present that just about 10 incidents had been reported for day-after-day final yr – a complete of three,552. This can be a 21% general improve from 2021, when 66 horses had been killed. The variety of horses injured has decreased barely, from 129, however the variety of riders injured has gone up from 126 to 139.

    “Horses are nonetheless being killed and injured on our roads, riders proceed to be significantly injured and too many drivers underestimate the significance of driving fastidiously round horses,” Mr Hiscox mentioned. “That is detrimental to the protection of equestrians. You solely have to take a look at the 2 horses who had been tragically killed in simply two weeks in the beginning of 2023.”

    Mr Hiscox instructed H&H he feels “frustration and disappointment” on the stats, particularly after final yr’s Freeway Code adjustments, which state that horses ought to be handed at a most 10mph and a minimum of two metres’ distance, and put riders above automobiles within the new hierarchy of highway customers.

    “Within the three months after the Freeway Code modified, we did see incidents drop, however now they’re as much as the degrees of earlier than the adjustments got here in,” he mentioned. “I’m very disillusioned in the best way the adjustments had been publicised they usually appear to have dropped off the DfT [Department for Transport] menu.”

    Mr Hiscox mentioned that when the BHS security workforce had a stand at motor exhibits final summer season, they spoke to guests in regards to the adjustments.

    “At Silversone, 76% of individuals we spoke to didn’t learn about them, and at Goodwood, it was 87%,” he mentioned. “The AA did a survey and over 60% of drivers had been unaware. For these first three months, we thought, ‘That is truly going to make a distinction’ however had been very disillusioned. So we’re calling for extra to be carried out. We’re a part of the weak highway consumer group and I used to be actually inspired we had been put alongside pedestrians and cyclists within the hierarchy of highway customers, however that message remains to be woefully lacking from a number of drivers’ data.”

    The BHS will likely be among the many organisations asking for a much bigger push on the adjustments; it really works with Street Security GB, highway security partnerships throughout the nation, driving instructors’ associations and plenty of extra.

    Mr Hiscox mentioned the plan is to maintain pushing the BHS Useless Gradual marketing campaign to as many individuals as doable. And in addition to extra motor exhibits this yr, the stand will likely be at occasions such because the NEC Caravan, Tenting and Motorhome Present subsequent month, which is anticipated to draw some 100,000 guests, and driving instructors’ conferences. Extra “shut move” occasions are additionally anticipated to be run with police forces.

    “It’s making an attempt to get the knowledge, data and understanding out to encourage that fascinating behaviour,” Mr Hiscox mentioned. “The Freeway Code change was a seismic step to extend the protection of horses on the roads, however it must be strengthened on a regular basis and that’s what we’re pushing for. The AA says it, Biking UK says it; the general public marketing campaign wasn’t adequate. The figures and the lack of know-how are surprising.”

    The BHS has lengthy urged riders to report all incidents on the roads; it believes solely 10% of incidents are reported by way of its web site, however a number of the improve this yr could also be right down to extra individuals doing so by way of its devoted Horse i app, which was launched in March 2021.

    “The extra incidents which are logged, the extra the BHS can do to guard the rights of horse riders on Britain’s roads,” a BHS spokesman mentioned.

    A DfT spokesman instructed H&H the Freeway Code adjustments’ purpose is “to enhance security for individuals biking, strolling and horse using, and we invested over £1.3m in our THINK! marketing campaign which has elevated consciousness and understanding of the adjustments during the last yr”.

    “We’ve labored intently with a bunch of stakeholders representing all highway customers to develop the marketing campaign, with many additionally supporting the marketing campaign on their very own channels,” he mentioned.

    He added that DfT stats present that 83% of highway customers had heard of the adjustments by final August, and that they’ll proceed to be promoted by way of the THINK! social media. The DfT will have a look at “additional marketing campaign exercise in future”.

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