Danger for horse-riders on the roads highlighted by event in Blidworth
An event in Blidworth to raise awareness of the dangers horse-riders often face on busy roads has been hailed a big success.
Horse-lover Sarah Howarth, 36, organised the Pass Wide and Slow Awareness Ride on Sunday after surviving several near-misses while out riding with her nine-year-old daughter, Phoenix.
“It went really well,” said Sarah, who lives in Rainworth. “We ended up with only 15 horses and their riders taking part, but that was more than enough to get the message out.
"Newark’s rural policing team gave us an escort through the village, and the county councillor for Blidworth and Rainworth, Coun Tom Smith, came and gave us and some support.”
The ride was one of 200 similar events held up and down the country, and promoted by the national Pass Wide and Slow group, which was set up to educate motorists on how they should drive when horse-riders are on the road.
Alarming statistics show that, in the year to February 2020, there were 1,037 incidents involving horse-riders, which was an increase of 82 per cent on the previous year. One person and 80 horses were killed.
Sarah said: “Drivers pass too close, too fast, or on blind bends. A lot of this is because they are unaware of how they should behave, and of the dangers when they overtake.
"Our awareness ride was not a protest. The idea behind it was to get noticed and to appeal to drivers to be more considerate.
"A lot of incidents and near-misses go unreported. Phoenix and I go out riding three times a week to places such as Harlow Wood, the woods at Blidworth Bottoms and Tippings Wood. We have to go on roads to get to them, and we have at least one incident every week.
"The police have put signs up, but the message has not been getting through.”
Sarah’s tips for drivers are to slow down when approaching horse-riders, keep a safe distance, don’t try to pass until you can see the road ahead is clear, watch for hand-signals from riders and remember that horses can be spooked by loud noises.