Rochdale and Bury Bridleways Association praise police exercise educating how to pass horses safely

Date published: 29 September 2019

Local bridleways group, Rochdale and Bury Bridleways Association has praised a police exercise educating motorists on how to pass horses safely.

GMP’s Mounted Unit had a successful day out in Bolton on Wednesday 11 September, during their Safer Pass Initiative in partnership with The British Horse Society.

In just an hour and a half, the initiative saw 21 cars stopped for passing a horse too closely and one car seized for having no insurance.

When passing a horse, motorists should always pass wide and slowly – slowing to a maximum of 15mph and passing with least a car’s width, if possible, of space between you and the horse and rider.

Alarming statistics from The British Horse Society have revealed nearly two horses a week are being killed on UK roads, with 845 incidents involving horses and drivers reported last year.

In the last year alone, 87 horses and four people have been tragically killed whilst riding on the roads and 73% of incidents reported occurred due to vehicles passing by too closely.

Gill Morrell, Treasurer of the Rochdale and Bury Bridleways Association, said: “We are really pleased to see that this important safety issue is being treated seriously by GMP.

“They are targeting areas of hotspots for future initiatives and so it is important that all horse riders report any near misses to both the police and the British Horse Society, which is compiling statistics for future use.

“This is the second time that GMP have addressed this important issue, as they carried out a campaign a few years ago educating motorists that the correct speed to pass horses on the road is 15mph. This enables motorists sufficient time to react to the potential unpredictable reaction caused by the flight instinct in any horse.

“This initiative can only help support the education that Rochdale and Bury Bridleways Association tries to convey as it continues to work closely with councils to promote and secure safe off-road riding for all vulnerable members of the community, including horse riders and cyclists.

Alan Hiscox, Director of Safety at The British Horse Society, added: “Working with GMP’s Mounted Unit and their Safer Pass Initiative is a brilliant way to highlight the dangers that equestrians face on our roads.

“By collaborating on this new campaign we hope more drivers will be aware that when they are faced with a horse on the road they should slow down to a maximum of 15mph, be patient and ensure they pass the horse wide and slow, before driving slowly away.

“We also encourage riders to play their part by wearing high visibility clothing at all times and by thanking all road users that pass by safely.”

Rochdale and Bury Bridleways Association is an award-winning local voluntary organisation representing local equestrian enthusiasts of all ages, abilities and social background.

It has been working to protect bridleways and by-ways of the area and create new safe off-road routes for horse riders for over 30 years.

You can report indents to GMP and the British Horse Society at:

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