Road incidents involving horses up by 71 per cent in West Midlands
One horse was killed in the West Midlands in 2022 as the number of equine-related road incidents logged in the region increased by 71 per cent.
Overall, a total of 343 incidents and one horse fatality were logged in the West Midlands via The British Horse Society’s ‘Horse i’ app last year.
Staffordshire was the worst-affected area with 104 incidents - nearly double from the previous year, followed by Shropshire with 78 and Warwickshire with 73.
Across the UK, the equine charity received details of over 3,550 equine-related road incidents in 2022, which is a notable 21 per cent increase on the number reported in 2021.
The British Horse Society (BHS) said: "These shocking figures are reflective of the significant equine road safety challenge we’re facing, despite the Highway Code changes which were introduced this time last year."
The new guidelines - many of which were a direct result of the BHS’s significant involvement in the Highway Code review’s stakeholder group for vulnerable road users - include setting the advisory speed for passing people riding horses or driving horse-drawn vehicles at 10mph, and advising drivers to allow at least two metres of space.
Another key change was the new Hierarchy of Road Users, with horse riders now, alongside pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, recognised as road users most likely to be injured in the event of a collision.
While the new Highway Code guidance is an essential step in the right direction to protect horses and riders, the BHS says it is disappointed to see that not enough is being done to reinforce the behavioural messages and to make the public aware of the urgent importance of driving carefully around horses.
The BHS is committed to informing drivers and creating awareness about how to pass horses safely on the roads through its Dead Slow campaign.
The equine charity is calling for more succinct information and awareness of the changes in the Highway Code.
Alan Hiscox, director of safety at the BHS, said: “Horses are still being killed and injured on our roads, riders continue to be seriously injured and too many drivers underestimate the importance of driving carefully around horses.
“This is detrimental to the safety of equestrians. You only have to look at the 68 horses who were tragically killed across the UK in 2022.
“Our fear is that guidelines aren’t being clearly explained and delivered; this needs to change. Urgent action is required to make every road user aware of the Highway Code changes and, critically, why it’s so important to pass horses with care.
“Only through working collaboratively to educate and drive awareness will we be able to stop these awful incidents from happening over and over again.”
The equine charity is urging equestrians, and the wider public, to log any equine-related safety incidents using the Horse i app. The more incidents that are logged, the more the BHS can do to protect the rights of horse riders on Britain’s roads.
To learn more about The British Horse Society’s Dead Slow campaign and how you can help, visit bhs.org.uk/deadslow