More than half of collisions involving horses in the south west happen in Devon, with the south west figures higher than anywhere else in the country.
And Devon reported more than half of the overall total with 104 incidents, one human fatality and 33 horse fatalities, also making it the county with the highest equine fatality rate in the UK, last Thursday’s (December 5) Devon County Council meeting heard.
Cllr Rob Hannaford, leader of the Labour group, had put forward a motion calling for the council to support the Dead Slow campaign and to work with horse owners and riders, local communities, councils and charities, to achieve behavioural change and secure better equine safety for all.
He said: “This is a very important campaign for a rural county like Devon, and the new accident figures for our local area are truly shocking. For me this is a local and strategic issue, as a big area around the Exwick part of my division is rural, so I have farms, stables, and horse riders that have to interact with the urban areas, and negotiate busy roads and arterial routes.
“Reporting all incidents is vital in order to better understand the rate of equine-related incidents across Devon. Reporting factual data in this way can really make a big difference to equine safety, and it allows us to lobby and advise MP’s, road safety partnerships, the police and other safety organisations.”
The Dead Slow campaign that can be see at the bhs.org.uk/dead slow consists of four key behavioural change messages to drivers in relation to horses and riders:
- Slow down to a maximum of 15mph
- Be patient – I won’t sound my horn or rev my engine
- Pass the horse wide and slow (if safe to do so), at least a car’s width if possible
- Drive slowly away
The BHS has collated incident statistics to tie in with Road Safety Week (November 16-22) run by Brake, the road safety charity, to understand the rate of incidents involving horses on UK roads, and of the 1,037 incidents reported nationally, 80 horses have died and 136 have been injured.
A total of 81 per cent of the collisions occurred due to vehicles passing by too closely and close to half (43 per cent) of riders were subject to road rage or abuse, with 40 per cent of incidents occurred because a vehicle passed by too quickly.
Cllr Hannaford’s motion added: “With the documented increase in speeding incidents we support the charity in urging drivers to be very careful when passing horses on the road, and for them to adhere to its Dead Slow campaign messages.
“We join with the BHS to encourage all riders and horse owners to report their incidents to the charity at horseincidents.org.uk .
“Furthermore, as Devon’s highways authority we will aim to work with horse owners & riders, local communities, District, Town and Parish Councils, charities and others to wherever possible promote this campaign, in tandem with other measures such as better signage, to achieve behavioural change and secure better equine safety for all.”
As per the procedure of the council, it was referred to the council’s cabinet for consideration, before returning to full council in 2021 for determination.