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Serious injury lawyer's concern as British Horse Society data shows there were nearly 3500 collisions involving horses

The British Horse Society has released its statistics for road incidents involving horses and riders for 2023.  This shows that:

  • A total of 3,383 road incidents involving horses were recorded with the BHS
  • Of those, 66 horses died and 86 were injured
  • Three people died, and 94 people were injured
  • 23% of riders were victims of road rage or abuse
  • 85% of incidents occurred because a vehicle passed by too closely or quickly.

This data coincides with the two-year anniversary of the changes made to the Highway Code which included specific changes to provide improved safety for horse riders on the roads.

The Dead Slow road safety campaign

The British Horse Society continue to drive awareness of road safety issues as part of its Dead Slow road safety campaign. It is calling upon horse riders to raise awareness of the importance of driving carefully when overtaking or approaching horses. 

It is considered that some road users still underestimate the importance of following the guidance in the Highway Code which includes passing horses at no more than 10 mph and leaving at least 2 meters distance. 

The reports of incidents and near misses notified to the British Horse Society via the Horse Eye app confirmed that the majority of the incidents, 85% occurred because vehicles were passing horses too closely and/or quickly.    These are the two highest reported contributing factors for the second year running. 

It is clear following release of these statistics that there is still a need for greater awareness of the importance of the rules in the Highway Code and how they can help reduce collisions and incidents involving road users and horses. 

The data collected by the British Horse Society allows it to focus on key themes for road safety awareness.  It is also planned that the data collected will assist in evaluating and identifying any hot spots. 

All road users including horse riders have responsibility for the safety of themselves and others whilst using the roads. The impact of a near miss or a collision for a horse rider can be immense and life-changing. 

Legal support for horse riders involved in road accidents

I have represented many horse riders who have been involved in incidents; often resulting in life-changing physical injuries and severe psychological consequences as a result. 

Unfortunately, in collisions, the horse often suffers fatal injuries. A rider has a close bond with their horse, and it is often felt that the horse has saved the rider from greater or more serious injury, and this has a significant impact on the wellbeing and emotional state of the injured rider. 

As a horse rider I have experienced the risks and difficulties that can arise from inconsiderate or unsafe driving when passing or driving near to horses on the road.  

I fully support the British Horse Society’s campaign for 2024 to help reduce the number of incidents occurring and to make the roads safer for all road users.

Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in supporting riders involved in collisions access specialist support and rehabilitation at our dedicated horse accidents section

More information about the British Horse Society data can be found on its website.