Campaign urges drivers to 'pass wide and slow' of horses

A group of horse riders are urging drivers to ‘pass wide and slow’ on the roads after experiencing some ‘horrendous’ near-misses in Cookham.

Every day riders from Taylor Made Liveries and Riding School take their animals out hacking with their route often including roads around the village.

Claire Sayles, a long-term member at the school, said while most drivers are considerate when passing horses on the road, a minority are putting their animals in danger.

She said: “In the last year or so some of the driving has been horrendous and we’ve had a lot of near misses.

“The majority of people on the roads are absolutely lovely but we do get the odd person who will come up behind us and beep their horn behind us or get really close.

“We just want to raise awareness for passing us safely.”

Claire, 36, and her fellow riders are now joining the national ‘Pass wide and slow’ campaign which urges motorists to leave at least a two metre gap when they pass a horse on the road.

The campaign also calls on drivers to slow down to a maximum of 15mph and wait until a safe passing point is available to overtake.

Cyclists are also asked to not undertake horses as this can spook the animals.

“When you’re going round the lanes in Cookham just be aware that there are horses around and don’t shoot round blind corners at 30 or 40mph,” Claire added.

The Medmenham resident said riders would avoid roads if they could but a lack of bridleways often leaves them no choice.

The school will be riding out in the village on Sunday to raise awareness of their campaign.

Earlier this month riders from Thames Valley Police’s mounted section carried out a close pass operation where officers were fitted with cameras to record motorists overtaking them.

If passing vehicles were too close or driving too quickly then an officer on a motorcyle would pull them over and advise how to drive more safely.

In total 13 cars were stopped, nine of which were passing too quickly or too closely.

Road safety officer, PC Liz Johnson, of the joint operations road policing, roads safety unit said: “A couple of drivers today were caught out by driving too fast around bends which concealed horses approaching in the opposite direction. Remember to always be able to stop in the distance you can see to be clear.

“Everybody we spoke to was very positive with the engagement and did not realise the consequences of their actions. These drivers have now been educated and will be more aware of how to drive safely near horses in the future.

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