Review of the Highway Code – what you can do to get horse riders included in the review

The review is set to empower cyclists and pedestrians, with no mention of horse riders.

Please contact your local MP to support The British Horse Society’s call for horse riders to be included in the review of the Highway Code.

The British Horse Society's website has a template letter you can use to contact your local MP go here See below Helen's own letter to her MP.

Go to the government website to see full Review here

Director of Safety for The British Horse Society, Alan Hiscox, said:

'Although The British Horse Society (BHS) welcomes the Department for Transport’s measures to reduce accidents involving vulnerable road users, we’re disappointed that this review contains no specific mention of the significant dangers faced by horse riders and carriage drivers on UK roads. This is an opportunity to amend Sec 215 of the Highway Code, to include the specific advice to drivers in our 'Dead Slow' road safety campaign. This advice focuses on driver education, as it is clear from the hundreds of incidents reported to us by equestrians that many drivers are simply unaware of how to safely pass a horse on the road. The guidance given in the Highway Code is fundamental in educating drivers about the needs of vulnerable road users, including horse riders, and we therefore hope this forthcoming review will not overlook this important opportunity to improve road safety for the UK’s 1.3 million regular riders. The BHS does not want to feel that horse riders are the forgotten vulnerable road users.’

The British Horse Society will be contacting the Department for Transport to raise their concerns about horse riders being excluded from this review.

The British Horse Society works with MP’s and local authorities, cycling groups and commercial transport firms to educate and change driver behaviour. The BHS encourages horse riders to wear Hi-Viz at all times on the road, even in bright sunlight. Riders can report horse accidents to the BHS horse accidents website: 

Helen's Letter

Dear Dr Poulter

Re – Road Safety Debate – Parliament – Monday 5th November 2018

As a horse rider I welcome the Government’s recent announcement that the new and improved Highway Code will help keep cyclists and pedestrians safe on the roads; but I was very disappointed that no reference was made to horse riders.

AS  A QUALIFIED VETERINARY SURGEON, I HAVE BEEN UNFORTUNATE ENOUGH TO ATTEND ROAD TRAFFIC INCIDENTS. Scraping horses (and riders) off the road because of driver ignorance is an issue that you could actively and easily prevent. Education is key please don’t miss this opportunity to save lives.

In the DfT press release, Jesse Norman MP said “Britain has some of the safest roads in the world, but we need them to be safer for all, particularly cyclists, pedestrians and other road users.” However it would appear that when considering vulnerable road users, horse riders and carriage drivers are the ‘forgotten’ road users.

There are so many similarities to the way drivers should view cyclists and horse riders when passing that it makes sense to link the two, when reviewing the Highway Code.

I ask you, as my MP, that you raise a question in Monday’s road safety debate, as to why horse riders and carriage drivers are not included in the review of the Highway Code. The British Horse Society report that in the last seven years there have been 40 riders killed, and 237 horses killed as a result of their injuries on our roads. There have been 899 horses injured. 85% of road incidents involving horses are because drivers pass too fast or too close to horses.

The review of the Highway Code should include, at the very least, a strengthening of Sec 215 (Horse Riders and horse drawn vehicles) to include the British horse Society’s Dead Slow advice to drivers on how to pass horses safely.


Helen Whitbread