New Road Safety Guidelines Launched for Drivers and Horse-Riders
As the first day of the Dublin Horse Show gets underway, the Road Safety Authority (RSA), Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) and An Garda Síochána have launched a set of guidelines for drivers and horse-riders on how to share the roads safely. The booklet was launched today on Simmonscourt Road near the RDS by Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe TD who was ably assisted by Melanie Young, a member of the Team Ireland Equestrian u25 eventing squad and members of the Garda Mounted Unit.
Called ‘Horse Road Safety on Public Roads’, this is the first booklet of its kind and will provide road-users and horse riders with prescriptive advice on using the roads safely together. The booklet provides practical information for drivers and riders such as: how to ride, lead or drive horses on the road; rider clothing and safety equipment; road signs and signalling; how to behave at junctions; and dealing with a riding collision on the road. It is available to download from www.rsa.ie and www.horsesportireland.ie
Minister for Transport Tourism and Sport, Mr Paschal Donohoe TD said: “We have a proud tradition in Ireland of excellence in equestrian sport at national and international level. As a result, thousands of people across Ireland enjoy horse-riding both professionally and as a hobby, and so it is important that guidelines are in place for how to share the roads safely with other road-users. So this booklet is an important guide for anyone who rides or walks with horses on public roads, and for all road-users who may encounter horses and their riders during their travels.”
Speaking at the launch, RSA Chairperson Liz O’Donnell said: “I am delighted that the RSA is partnering with HSI to provide these much-needed guidelines to all road-users and to anyone who might be riding, leading or walking with horses on public roads. The RSA regularly gets queries from members of the public who are unsure what to do when sharing the roads with horses, so this booklet will help to clarify what the most appropriate behaviour is in certain situations. Horse and riders have every right to be on our roads, but like all other road-users, they must follow the Rules of the Road. So I would encourage people to get a copy of the booklet, familiarise yourself with the guidelines and understand how to share the roads safely.”
Mr Damien McDonald, Chief Executive of Horse Sport Ireland said: “It is estimated that there are up to 200,000 riding horses in Ireland across the horse-racing and sport horse industry. Many of their owners and trainers use public roads to exercise or train their horses or to move them from one location to another, so Horse Sport Ireland is delighted to have a set of guidelines for helping to ensure their safety when using the roads.”
“All road users have a duty of care to share the road in a safe and socially responsible way, and horses and their riders are no exception. We will be distributing the booklet to all of our members and encouraging them to share it with their colleagues, friends and family.”
Chief Superintendent Mark Curran, Garda National Traffic Bureau, An Garda Síochána said: “An Garda Síochána is supportive of any initiative that promotes road safety. This campaign emphasises the need for all road-users to respect each other on the roads, to be aware that there are different modes of transport and to be better informed on how to behave appropriately in certain situations. Please remember that horses can be unpredictable and easily spooked, therefore always give them a wide birth and pass with great care.”
The booklet has the following tips for motorists and riders when sharing the roads:
· Always make sure that drivers can see you at all times regardless of weather conditions. Wear proper protective gear, high-visibility clothing and put high-visibility equipment on your horse.
· Position yourself between the horse being led and the traffic so that you have maximum control over the horse, while leading, or riding and leading.
· Give clear and accurate hand signals to let other road users know your intentions.
· Remain alert, attentive and observant. Remember the Life Saver Look at junctions – it could save your life.
· Be alert when approaching riding schools or places where horses are likely to appear;
· Take special care when overtaking horses, especially loose horses or horse-drawn vehicles. This is particularly relevant at junctions where motorists are advised to keep a safe distance from horses and riders;
· Pass by slowly, driving wide of the horse and rider;
· Don’t use your horn or lights in a way that might startle or blind a horse. This could cause the rider to lose control of the animal.
The booklet will be distributed through the RSA and Horse Sport Ireland channels and will be available at Driving Test Centres, Theory Test Centres, Garda Stations, libraries, as well as being available to download from www.rsa.ie and www.horsesportireland.ie Horse Sport Ireland will also be distributing copies to their members.