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Ban horses from public roads.

41 Comments 6th February 2016

I think horses should be banned from public roads. Horses and their riders pay no road tax, they cause certain motorists to behave in an irresponsible way by refusing to pass these animals until they can pass with an absurdly wide berth. At the very least, people riding horses on the public road should pass a test and understand the highway code.

Why does this matter?

Road safety is constantly on the agenda. Many riders that I have observed are unable to control their animals on the public roads. We are regulated to within an inch of viability in our cars so why should these animals be allowed to wander the highway unregulated.

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41 Responses to Ban horses from public roads.

  1. John says:

    I saw a pony kick a car the other day, while pulling a cart.

    I take it they arn’t insured.

  2. Nigel says:

    A horse should be in a field, NOT ON THE ROAD. I have lost count the amount of times i have driven round a corner in my home town of Verwood, Dorset to be met by a teenage girl who is NOT in control of the horse. As a motorcyclist i have to virtually stop and ride right over to the other side of the road as not to sppok the horse, putting me in danger from cars coming towards me. And why do they like to ride during rush hour work traffic??? Somebody sort it out, NOW.

  3. Dr Caroline Johnson says:

    Firstly – most riders like myself hate riding on roads and only do it due to lack of choice. Farmers and councils have closed off bridle ways, often illegally, for centuries. There are now virtually none left and those which remain do not join up to allow passage.

    Horses have rights of carriage on the roads and in fact they were highways for horses and horse drawn carriages before cars were even invented. In the absence of any other route (bridle ways or accessible multi use tracks) roads are the only option for exercising and getting from one place to another.

    I am very familiar with the highway code thank you and the ignorance of this survey creator is astounding, but will certainly see it ignored in parliament. Those drivers giving wide berths are doing the correct thing as stated in the Highway Code. Read it!! As a driver I show the same curtesy when passing dogs and walker’s, runners, cyclists, children etc. Slowing down and moving over safely is necessary and is the law and is what most decent folk do as a matter of course.

    Finally, I am insured for accident and liability on any of my horses. Most responsible riders are. I don’t know of any cyclists or runners who are but this does not make me vengefully wish them off the roads. I suggest you use your energy to approach your local council to include more off road riding and carriage driving routes in their town plans. It would be much more productive as this survey us going nowhere.

    • Mr Jacobs says:

      Horses should be banned from public highways, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve witnessed a horse dancing dangerously around all over the road clearly frightened by the traffic. It’s a beast, unpredictable, the rider can never be in full control, a friend of my dads was killed by a horse rearing up and falling onto his vehicle.

      As for your argument that the closure of bridle ways has forced riders to use public highways, it doesn’t matter, the fact remains they are dangerous. Another thing I’ve noticed is the age of some of these riders, clearly children aged around 12-14 years old??? How on earth can that be safe???

      A solution to the problem would be some kind of disused warehouse surfaced with astro turf. The horses could be tethered securely while riders in full safety attire walk there beasts on some kind of belt driven treadmill. Flat screen televisions could be mounted in front of the treadmills showing suitable entertainment for horsey type folk such as fox hunting and other blood sports.

    • Rich says:

      We are not in medieval days so yes 10% of roads were built for you…. back a hundred years ago. Most roads have been built recently and for cars etc. Why would u be so selfish and even put your pet at risk. We can all be stubborn. Cars and horses do not mix. Fact. There’s more reason and more cars than horses to be on road so maybe stick to fields. Or risk bro g smashed into on a blind bend. Your choice

  4. Geoff says:

    I’m with you on baning horses.. But feels for the riders and people that love their hobby.. I’m not anti them… But seriously… It’s super dangerous! … And mega inconvenient.

    I would inform you though the “they pay no road tax” is incredibly weak… Especially since there is no such thing as road tax… It’s vehicle duty and is now proportional to emmissions. Roads are paid out of general taxation.. So by buying products for the horse and for the vet… Etc… Etc.. They’re paying for the upkeep of the road…

    • Anthony says:

      No there not geoff that money doesnt go to the roads and they could pay insurance and a road usage tax untill then i say beep loudly and drive at the speed of the road not an uninsured animal on it

  5. sharon gunning . says:

    moan all I like it won’t happen . I personally avoid roads as much as I possible can . some people are not lucky enough to have off road hacking. we don’t produce fumes or damage environment . learn to share people the road in not just yours.

  6. Stuart Begley says:

    I’m not the biggest fan of horses but they have been around way longer than motor vehicles and understand that they do require exercise but as times have changed as they inevitably do, are they safe on roads now? They are no longer a form of transport or a beast of burden that they once were so I don’t believe they are but statistics should be the go to decider in this. Should all horses be banned from roads? I don’t believe they should. I think that a serious look should be made to ensure they have access but in a safe manner. Maybe a time restriction so that they are not on roads during heaviest periods, maybe a minimum competence level for horse rider to at least give best chance of controlling a situation should one arise? Maybe a revision to the law that enforces vehicle drivers to maintain a safe passing speed and distance?

    The argument that they should be on the roads because bridal ways are being closed or a distance away is a valid one also but this does not give a valid reason to have horses on the road for riders that are not deemed to be fully competent to control the horse in the event of an emergency situation. Bringing walkers and cyclists into an discussion about horses is also not a solution to a incredibly long running debate, we need to look at ways to bring an adequate resolution to this by working together.

    As an emergency worker I have seen a few to many incidents involving this argument and both sides have been at fault at differing times but as I said before the balance of blame is not for me to decide, statistics should lead that. What I will say though is that pretty much all of the incidents could of been avoided by BOTH sides having tighter restrictions. Horse feces is a hazard to some road users and this should be addressed, no set rules for a vehicle to pass a horse is a risk to a horse rider and other road users, horse riders should not be allowed to ride two abreast on roads which pose a higher risk to other road users, more bridal ways or existing bridal ways should be made available to allow riders of any level to enjoy this age old activity. This debate/discussion is nearly as old as the motor vehicle and that should be a red flag to this being taken seriously. People and horses do die due to this and many more will so that means that BOTH sides have to take this seriously and resolve this.

    I have my own opinion on this and that’s exactly what it is, my own opinion but I do hope that to save lives in the future that the powers that be that can make a change look at this and really take the time to make a better and safer situation for ALL road users.

  7. Anthony says:

    I think drivers should start racing past them and beeping loudly until they pay road tax and insurance on them

    • Stuart Begley says:

      The fact that you would consider that a viable option and risk the life of another individual as well as the horse and or another road user that may have to swerve to avoid the chaos you created only destroys your case.

      Abuse, intolerance, ignorance and a lack of respect for another’s life is not how you get change, you need to understand both sides of the argument and work together to get a resolution to the problem. You may of had a valid point and in some ways I agree that insurance should be compulsory and not just for horse riders but for any road user that has the potential to cause damage but you lose you point as soon as you show a distinct disregard for others.

  8. Kay says:

    Ban them!!!!!!

    1. You don’t need a license or training or insurance.

    2. Horses have no ‘brakes’ or ‘steering’ and do have their own minds.

    3. It is usually 15 year old girls that I see riding horses on the road, if I drive past one (carefully) and the horse spooks then I will be held responsible! If I drove past another car and the other driver got scared, well that’s his own fault.

    4. There is no age limit! Driving is MUCH safer. Even scooters require basic training, insurance, tax and an age limit.

    5.Most of the time there is a field there and a horse riding on the tarmac next to it. If you own a horse then as far as I am concerned one of the associated costs should be owning or having access to land for it to exercise. If you cannot afford the land, you cannot afford the upkeep of a horse. .

    • Lauren says:

      There might be a field but maybe the horse isn’t allowed in it, like one of the farms near the track I ride to get to the beach is for cows so the horses can’t go into it. Going onto the road is our only option and that’s not our fault and if you say anything like “well they should be ridden in an arena” it’s a refreshing sight for the horse that allows it to relax and just let of a bit steam. Steam they can’t let off in the arena. The horses that go out where I ride can be controlled easily on the road and are easy to control in general so there is no danger ther for control. Horses do actually have “breaks” and “steering” it’s things called reins. You’ve clearly never ridden a horse before otherwise you would understand the fact that there are “breaks” and “steering”. We use the reins to turn the horse and we gently pull on the reins to stop the horse.

      • Craig says:

        It’s a wild animal, a car will stop if you brake, a horse may or may not even if trained. Most horse riders do not go on roads because they need to… They do it through choice. The horse don’t get up and go, come on Lauren, sod the field today I fancy some nice hard concrete and lots of big scary cars. Just stubbornness and ignorance and lack of love for your

  9. Rich says:

    Hmmmm let’s think… Is it a good idea to have a wild animal with no insurances no license no age limits on a busy a road with blind bends??? Either change the speed limit to 20 mph on all a roads or ban horses. Too dangerous now. We not in dark ages. And why do u need to ride on roads it’s a hobby. So why risk your life n horses life through a hobby. Think I may start walking my dog on a blind bend…. or not because I’m not an idiot

    • Lauren says:

      They are there,get over it.

      • unfortunately they are there and one day a big truck on a bend will get over it and you as well just because of your hobby.stay off the roads and ride on bridal path’s or private property and think of the horse and not your self and children.

    • Em says:

      We can’t ride on foot paths like you can walk your dog on foot paths. Ummmm,,, lets see you are an idiot.

    • English Lady says:

      Wow talk about inconsiderate. I happen to live near a narrow country road, which contains many blind bends, and is so narrow there is no pavement down most of it.

      Its dotted with houses and farmland on both sides: in fact, some houses have front doors that come right out onto the road.

      Guess what? People walk their dogs down that road BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO CROSS, and so do families with children to get to their homes. Tractors have do come up and down the road. So do pedestrians, and the postman.

      Yet still motorists insist on bombing down the Middle of the bloody road at 70mph, without considering there might actually be people coming to and from those houses, tractors, farm traffic, or cars coming in the other direction. The number of times we’ve had to pull over because of such idiots I’ve lost count of.

      Get over yourself: cars are not the only moving things that happen to be on or near roads. Unless you want to get up a petition banning cyclists, pedestrians, horses, dog walkers, tractors, children crossing to get to school and so on just accept that.

  10. Chris says:

    Horses should not be allowed on any roads. What idiot would take a 1/2 ton+ animal onto roads that are around 50/60 MPH speed limit. I cant see what might be around a corner, am i expected to slow down to 20/30MPH at every corner. I would soon have angry string motorist behind having a go at me. Its bad enough hitting a pheasant with your wind screen when out driving, but possibly having a horse come through it with possibly a child in the front seat, i cant bear thinking about it.
    A friend of mine has to cull deer in Sussex due to the amount being hit & the danger to the public.

    • Stephen says:

      I’m so sorry that the possibility of horses on the road prevents you being able to drive around blind bends at 50-60 mph. Just because a road has a national speed limit sign it doesn’t mean that it either safe or appropriate to drive at 60mph all the time regardless of other road users
      If you could be sure they weren’t there, would you drive like that? Have you not thought about cyclists, dog walkers, a farmer in a tractor or god forbid wildlife like deer or domestic animals such as sheep and cattle.
      Animals don’t hurl themselves at cars for the fun of it, drivers drive to fast for the conditions and are unable to stop. Yes deer do jump out in front of cars, but the danger can be minimised by driving at an appropriate speed for the conditions, visibility and likelihood of wildlife.
      Horses are part of our way of life, they have been around for centuries, in this age we need perhaps to show a little tolerance for other people, be them drivers, cyclists, horse riders or walkers. We are all vulnerable on a road and should behave in a manner that minimises our own vulnerability and the potential t put others at risk.

      • Craig says:

        Have been for centuries but now what is the ratio of cars to horses? Almost all roads were built with cars use being primary, the fact is on small roads unless u drive 20mph everywhere, a horses being on it is a danger, u can’t argue that, they have no brakes, they hate cars, so why would u put your horse through that? How many horses just let themselves out for a stroll on the road? None, it’s down to the riders choice. Horses were here before concrete was invented or stone roads if you Wana be historical. They are naturally meant to be on grass. Humans choose to ride them. Use a field or accept no matter how someone drives your decisions cause everyone including horse a danger.

      • English Lady says:

        Craig, you might as well use the same reasoning to argue that pedestrians should not walk on or anywhere near roads. Nor should they be allowed to cross them.

        The simple fact is that they have to. To get from A to B, like everyone else. Many people have houses that open out onto roads: or live down country roads where there is literally no pavement.

        Children are not made to be hit, and they regularly inconvenience other road users by having to cross to get to school, or get home, or whatever. Children should be banned from roads: they should be confined to houses, school fields, or playpens.

        Not going to happen though, because people have to travel. The roads do not exist for the sole use of cars: but we don’t see pedestrians and cyclists getting up petitions to ban them do we?

        For the record, there is a school near me down a residential street where they had to build bollards to stop motorists mounting the pavement to overtake slow-moving traffic, thus risking the lives of mothers and children, and residents of said houses. Cos here’s the thing: motorists can be dangerous, selfish and inconsiderate too: some, even some who should know better, will mount the pavement to save seconds even thought they are not meant to be there and are knowingly endangering others.

  11. Kevin says:

    They are a total menace on the roads. I drive a refuse lorry in country villages and they get spooked by the orange beacons flashing. I know what the horse people are going to say, “switch them off when horses are about”. But sometimes I’m out of the wagon and I can’t, it’s just not practical. They also get spooked when the vehicle revs when the bin is raised. I agree we should all be courteous, and I’m not just blaming horses here, everyone seems to be in everyone’s way these days, but the fact is roads are dangerous and it’s just not safe for an unpredictable, potentialy dangerous animal to be on them. If the horse could speak I bet it would say, “Will ya stop taking me oot on that road, ah divvent like it man” (geordie horse obviously)

  12. Horse rider says:

    What if you have got to ride on the road? I know people who have no choice but to ride on roads or lanes because they have other horses in their fields and all the bridleways have been converted to roads. A lot of riders on roads have had at least 10 near misses. I’m very sorry that some of us aren’t as considerate as riders could be but sometimes it just isn’t safe for us to take a hand off the reins to wave. Please can you try and pass horses wide and slow. Sometimes we have to ride two abreast to protect inexperienced or young horses. We wish we didn’t have to ride on roads and if you don’t want us on roads campaign for more bridleways not to ban us.
    #killyourspeednotmysteed

  13. . Smith says:

    Just. Nearly ran over a horse rider. Trying to cross on a blind bend. Not good

  14. Luce says:

    Until recently, horses did have right of way on the roads. We only ride in roads usually as we can’t get access field to field and have no choice. Try 6 mths in a motorbike in the winter or ride a horse on the roads to find out how out of touch SOME ignorant drivers are

  15. deborah Sherringham says:

    Unbelievable!! horses are insured, most of us are also drivers at some point in our lives so pay road tax. We cannot just ride in a field – what stupid comments are these?? I loathe riding on the road having been backed into by an ignoramus, and whilst there is a lovely field path to the centre I go for lessons there is only a footpath with styles, that are not there for us to use a jumps even if it were safe/legal to do so I HAVE TO USE THE ROAD!! Have some consideration and respect, as I driver I have to put up with some of you, who have no idea how to drive in the country, so race down single track lanes putting every road user in danger, taking bends like you are on an F1 track so stick to the motorways when you can only harm each other and if you cant get to where you want just by using a motorway, learn the HIGHWAY CODE

  16. steve_knows says:

    Car, bus, and lorry drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists, pedestrians, typically use the road because they need to go somewhere. Nobody needs to use a horse for transport anymore. The only reason anyone rides a horse on the road is for pleasure. If you take a horse on the road, you know that you are creating potentially dangerous situations for yourself, the horse and other road users but choose to ignore this because you care more about your pleasure than the inconvenience and danger. It’s a selfish decision.

    • English Lady says:

      Or maybe, just maybe its because the roads were built across farms and fields, and the riders have no way to get from one place to the other except by crossing or walking along the road.

      You know, they don’t just have magic fairies that can fly all the people who just happen to live on roads, or have roads next to their lands to safer places. They don’t just clear the area to build a road.

      The fact is, some roads, especially in rural areas, were very poorly thought out and built.
      Often they intersect through residential areas, but are not wide enough to allow for pavement. People who live there have no choice but to walk or ride down those roads, yet the idjits who built them decided it was still a good idea to allow for national speed limit on a blind bend with houses and farms on both sides, not supposing anyone would ever need to come in our out of them.

  17. Em says:

    All you ignorant drivers are more a danger than anyone. Open your eyes. I have video evidence of drivers driving dangerously and over the speed limit and on purpose for no reason at all. If you used your common sense by passing WIDE AND SLOW there would not be a problem. DRIVERS are creating potentially dangerous situations for yourself, the horse and other road users by speeding and driving like maniacs and having no common sense. People these days are so self absorbed and walk around with their eyes shut you all need to wake up. We are in the 21st century, yes we have a problem that needs to be address not ban people from using the roads, we all need access to. What we need are more bridle ways re-opening adjacent to the roads to avoid all the impatient psycho drivers that think riders should be banned from the roads. You type of drivers should be banned! You shouldn’t even have a licence.

  18. Lenny says:

    It’s a difficult discussion, yes horses have been on roads since forever, but as with many things this changes as technology moves forwards. Earlier today I was driving home and was rounding a corner as about 25-30mph and was met by two riders on the inside of the bend, smacked the breaks on and skidded towards them (mud on road and downhill). It was a real eye opener and I’m thankful that nobody was hurt, I was in the wrong, it could be argued that had it been a car or tractor coming the other way it would have been more visible? I think either way (and I understand I was 5-10mph too fast) a horse rider is incredibly vulnerable, had there been a collision I don’t have to tell you how easily someone and certainly the horse could be hurt or killed! My point is that its simply dangerous, cars are designed with airbags, crumple zones etc, horses unfortunately are not, I’m not saying give up your hobby but just remember that in the event you do get hit (I am driving slower from now on after this encounter) by someone driving a bit too fast, you could die……. and your best pal Herbert the horse.

    • English Lady says:

      Sounds like the road near my house. We are in the country, but its not very rural, more suburban, with two major roads near us.

      Yet there is a country lane so narrow that there is barely enough space for two cars to pass, and no pavement down most of it: despite the fact that there are houses and farmland all the way along it. Some of the houses have front doors which literally open out onto the road.

      Its full of blind bends, but of course, pedestrians regularly have to walk along the road, as well as kids, dog walkers, cyclists and horses. As well as tractors, at certain times of the year. But its still National speed limit: and people go down the Middle of the road at 60MPH not even considering that there might be someone coming the other way, or someone coming out of one of the houses which are clearly visible.

      Lost count of the number of times we’ve had to pull over and slow down or stop (sometimes near enough going into a ditch), because of someone speeding down the middle of the road from the opposite direction.

  19. AlexAllen says:

    Ban horses on the roads! Or at least have the police pull each one over and check for insurance papers, ownership details, vet check, blacksmith shoe tickets and that both horse and rider are wearing the correct day glow reflective attire. Fines should be brought in place for those who don’t obey to road safety act.
    Then you can ban cyclists after this. But at least you can pass these more easily.

    • English Lady says:

      Oh yes, then please lets ban pedestrians after that. Those inconsiderate little buggers always CROSSING our roads to get to their bloody houses, or schools. Oh and trains. So annoying having to stop for the gates.

      Roads only for cars, regardless if they pass right in front of your house or through your fields.

  20. One who dares to ride a horse on the road says:

    Omg I’ve never read such bigoted rubbish!! Horses will never be banned from the roads FACT! Horses,Cyclists and don’t have to pay road tax as they do not emit pollutants! Horses are not the problem it’s the idiots behind the wheel of the car! Who think they own the road, wake up horses are here to stay. And for the idiot who said why should he have to slow down whilst doing 60mph around blind bends (rofl) then you sir need to have your licence revoked!

  21. lynda mitchell says:

    What about horses and traps with 13 year old yobs making the poor animal trot as fast as possible head in the air and terrified

  22. Jack says:

    In my area there are always little girls between the ages of 12-16 without an adult riding side by side on skinny 60mph side roads.

    Horses aren’t used for transport anymore… They are for pleasure… You don’t see me tearing it up on a quad bike and to be honest that would be safer than a horse on public roads.

    Horses are for pleasure purposes and should be transported on a truck from point to point.

    Having horses on the road is a danger to everyone involved and anyone who does it is totally selfish because they are knowingly putting peoples lives at risk so they can enjoy their hobby without the inconvenience of using your own land for it!

    Not only this but you don’t see them cleaning the s*it up after themselves which creates a hazard for us motorcyclists. I have had a couple of near misses where I have slid on a corner because of horse s*it. Why can they ignore these laws but a dog walker will get a fine for doing the same.

    At the very least horses should have the same age restrictions and licencing requirements as cars.

    Unsupervised children riding their poo machines on winding fast roads is just a recipe for disaster.

  23. No says:

    If I cant fly tiny RC aircraft near roads – purely for fun, not filming, whilst posing no risk to anyone or anything, why the hell should someone be able to take a dangerous animal guided by an 11 year old on the roads.

    That thing could rear up and kill a cyclist or motorist or pedestrian, at any moment.
    If I import an Elephant should I be able to ride it on the roads. Because I enjoy screwing bits of metal to its feet to force it to walk on the wrong terrain.

    If you have to take the horse on the road, you don’t have enough space for a horse.

  24. Phill says:

    Some people are saying that horses have been on the roads for centuries.
    They say that because of this, they have the right to continue riding on the roads.
    What they ignore are the facts, the horse & horse drawn carriages were responsible for many deaths on the roads of towns & villages back in the day, people learned very quickly to get out of the way & not cause an obstruction because the horse is much bigger than a person.
    So times have MOVED ON, the motor vehicle is now the main form of transport that most people use, but most people do not use a vehicle for pleasure alone, in fact driving is no longer a pleasure on our overcrowded roads, there are just to many other road users who seem to think that their survival is someone else\’s responsibility.

    I have had near misses with people who think it ok to walk a horse & carriage along a fast A road, another horse rider thought it ok to move across the road & almost block it to make me slow down, even though I was only doing 20/25 & the road is 30 ft wide, I have had very serious talks with people who walk 5/6 abreast on country roads with others who are physically unable to move quickly.
    They dress in dull clothes that make it hard to see them when I am in sunlight & they are in shadow!

    So in conclusion, I believe that horses must be banned from public roads.

    So should people who don\’t give a monkeys about their own safety!

    Phill

  25. Wilson says:

    I have made many enquires and looked on several advice pages online. Nowhere can I find a definitive answer to ( can a horse be ridden against the flow of traffic in a one-way street ). Highway code says SHOULD this surely is advisory, not compulsory. Tried UGov. Tried Ministry of Transport. Apart from common sense where is it in law.

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