Equestrian Road Safety in the United Kingdom: Factors Associated with Collisions and Horse Fatalities

Organisation: British Horse Society (BHS)
Date of Publication: December 2020
Date Uploaded: 2 June 2021

Horse riders report they frequently experience incidents with other road users, including dangerous near-misses and accidents. The British Horse Society has been collecting information about horse-related road incidents via their website since 2010.

The aim of this study was to describe the incidents reported, how they have changed over time and across different UK regions, and the factors which may increase or reduce the risk of collision incidents and those resulting in horses being killed.

Road rage and speeding were reported in 40% of incidents while drivers passing the horse too closely were reported in over 80% of incidents. Close passing distance, alone or when combined with speeding, contributed significantly to collisions while speeding alone contributed significantly to horse deaths. Wearing high visibility clothing reduced the risk of having a collision.

A horse death caused by a road accident was almost 12 times as likely to result in severe to fatal injury to the rider/handler. Loose horses were more likely to be killed than ridden horses or those pulling a horse-drawn vehicle.

The report concludes that driver behaviour of how to pass horses safely on UK roads needs further improvement, and will help reduce the risk of collisions and horse and human fatalities.

For more information contact Dee Pollard, Research Analyst at BHS.

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