HSI joins the RSA in launching new rider road safety videos

  • 1 June 2023, 10:59

An Garda Síochána Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman, Jack Chambers, Minister of State at the Department of Transport and at the Department of Environment, Climate, Sam Waide, CEO of the RSA and Denis Duggan, CEO of HSI pictured with members of An Garda Síochána mounted unit, riders Georgia and Kim Wade.
Photo: Julien Behal Photography

HSI join June Bank Holiday Appeal to Motorists to ‘Pass Wide and Slow’ When Meeting Horse Riders and other Vulnerable Road Users

Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) is proud to partner with Horse Racing Ireland (HRI), and the Road Safety Authority (RSA), and An Garda Síochána (AGS) to produce a series of videos to inform motorists how to share the roads safely with horse riders.

Road users are being urged to be cautious and to ‘pass wide and slow’ when encountering horse riders, as well as other vulnerable road users. Motorists are urged to watch and share the new series of videos to familiarise themselves with best practice when they encounter horses on the road. Road users should also remain alert when approaching places where horses are likely to appear, including riding schools and racing yards.

A survey* of over 1,700 horse riders found that cars and jeeps have been involved in the highest percentage of reported incidents with horses on the roads. The remaining share of reported incidents were equally divided among those who cycle, vans, lorries and agricultural machinery.

It also found that four in five (85%) horse riders had experienced a road safety incident when on the road with their horse at some point, with 12% of those incidents resulting in injury to either horse or rider. These findings have led HSI, HRI, RSA and AGS to create the series of videos to inform motorists and those who cycle what to do when they encounter horses on the road.

Motorists and those who cycle are reminded that if they meet a horse and rider on the public road they should always:

  • Slow down
  • Pass wide
  • Obey the hand signals of the rider

Motorists should never:

  • Use the horn
  • Rev the engine
  • Flash the lights

Minister of State at the Department of Transport and at the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications, Jack Chambers said: “We are approaching the summer, which is typically a very busy time of the year on our roads and as such a high-risk period. We must remember to stay safe on the road during these months. All road users have a duty of care to share the road in a safe and socially responsible way. I hope that all road users will find this new series of videos useful as they demonstrate best practices guidelines when sharing the roads specifically with horse riders. These videos provide real clarity on what we should all do when we meet a horse rider on the public road.

Mr Sam Waide, CEO Road Safety Authority said: “Road users should be alert when travelling but especially over the summer months as there are more vulnerable road users such as horse riders using the roads. If you encounter a horse, please use best practices such as passing wide and slow, obeying the rider’s hand signals and avoid using the horn, air brakes or lights as they may startle or blind a horse.”

Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman, Roads Policing and Community Engagement, An Garda Síochána said: “The June Bank Holiday period is one of the busiest periods on our roads and when road users are at the highest risk of being involved in fatal collisions. In 2022, there were 8 fatalities and 18 serious injuries during this period and I am appealing to all road users to slow down and exercise caution so as to avoid this devastating impact to families and communities across the country. Motorists should be particularly mindful of vulnerable road users.”

Denis Duggan, CEO of Horse Sport Ireland said: “We are delighted that this series of videos is now available and will help raise awareness of what to do when road users meet horse riders on the road. Horses are live animals and can be unpredictable, so it is important that all road users familiarise themselves with the rules of the road.

He added, “These videos will assist in explaining those rules in a very easy to understand way. I would encourage everyone to take a few minutes to watch the videos and I want to take this opportunity to compliment the creative team and those in the Road Safety Authority for this initiative, which Horse Sport Ireland has been happy to support.”

Suzanne Eade, CEO of Horse Racing Ireland said: “There is a shared responsibility for road safety from all road users so we are delighted to partner with the Road Safety Authority with their horse road safety appeal. The videos have lots of useful guidelines to explain to motorists how to share the roads safely with horses and their riders. I would encourage everyone to familiarise themselves with the guidelines, especially as the busy summer period approaches. We all have a part to play in sharing the road safely.”

The RSA guidelines for ‘Horse Road Safety on Public Roads’ are available here.

*Horse Road Safety Survey 2021 contacts carried out by Siobhan English, International Equine Journalist, and Anne O’Connor, Senior Ride and Road Safety Trainer & Examiner Irish Pony Club.