Horse Riders and Cyclists
Many different groups of road users can be found on Suffolk's roads, and all groups have to learn to share the space safely. Cyclists often encounter horse riders as both groups enjoy riding down the smaller country roads.
Mid-Suffolk District Councillor, Kathie Guthrie , a keen horse rider, says "I often meet cyclists who speed passed me - not realising that they are scaring my horse as they arrive unannounced. That can be dangerous to all of us - my horse, myself, and the cyclists!"
The British Horse Society have some very good information available (see: "Useful Links") about how horse riders and cyclists can help each other on the road.
A spokesperson for the Suffolk County Council Road Safety Team says, "As a cyclist myself I didn't really know how to negotiate a horse and rider on the road - I assumed I needed to get by as quickly as possible. This, it turns out, is not the case. The BHS advice gives hints on what cyclists should do, but it also suggests that horse riders wear something hi-vis - a hat band at the very least. Horses are remarkably difficult to spot against a countryside background, and it would really help cyclists, and other road users, to be able to see a horse and rider as soon as possible."
Don’t forget to say ‘thank you’ when courtesy and consideration are shown to you – a smile or a nod is sufficient, and means a great deal. Next time it may save a difficult situation when it could be you who needs consideration.
Advice for cyclists
- Let the horse and rider know you are there: call out "Hello!" in plenty of time, so that the horse doesn't get startled.
- Slow down: this will give the horse a chance to see you and realise you are not a threat.
- Pass wide and on the right: the horse may decide to move sideways or kick out.
- Don't wave an acknowledgement: just talk to the rider - hands waving around may frighten the horse.
- Pass in small groups
Advice for horse rider
- Wear reflective and fluorescent clothing: make sure you are easy to see.
- Give cyclists room to pass you
- Keep your eye out for 'cycle race' signs