Promoting safe overtaking of horses and cyclists with mindfulness techniques

The British Horse Society

Amount awarded


Uploaded to Knowledge Centre
11 June 2024

This project contained three phases of research.

First, a large survey of drivers was conducted to gauge their emotions, attitudes, and behaviours towards horse riders and cyclists.

This study found that spotting horses in the road ahead was most likely to lead to feelings of surprise and happiness in drivers, whereas the strongest emotions evoked by cyclists were reported to be frustration and anxiety.

Scripts for videos were then developed to provide basic knowledge on how to pass VRUs (targeting unsafe passing behaviours that might be due to lack of knowledge), and general persuasive arguments to reframe a driver’s relationship with VRUs (targeting attitudinal disdain) – with mindfulness techniques providing immediate tools to combat in-the-moment emotions (primarily frustration and anger).

Four scripts were developed with expert assistance and were then filmed and edited into the final four videos.

The evaluation of the videos demonstrated clear improvements in anticipated emotions (lower frustration), attitudes, future intended passing speeds and overall unsafe passing behaviours in regard to cyclists.

The pattern was less emphatic for horses, with several of the analyses failing to reach the threshold of significance, though a reduction in future intended passing speeds was still found for the intervention group.

Qualitative data supported the drivers’ belief that these videos would be of great benefit, and they thought that their knowledge, attitudes, and level of control when overtaking had improved. Furthermore, the majority of drivers said they might use the recommended techniques in practice, with qualitative evidence suggesting that several drivers would extend the use of these techniques outside of driving.

Overall, the results suggest that the videos may produce road safety benefits. However, at the moment, the project team only has indications of drivers’ future intentions to be safe.

The project team says the data is a great starting point, but ideally they would like to follow-up with participants to see whether their intentions blossomed into actual behaviours.

Read the full report via The Road Safety Trust website: