West Cornwall MP Derek Thomas lead a debate in the House of Commons this week (Tuesday, 4th July) highlighting the dangers that horses and their riders face when riding down rural roads.
Mr Thomas recently saw for himself the hazards riders face at an awareness event in Rosudgeon and Marazion organised by Debbie Smith who has also been behind a petition which has so far been signed by 108,000 people and which calls for measures to improve the safety of riders and horses.
“Since 2010, 38 riders and 222 horses have been killed in accidents on Britain’s roads and in the past year alone, the number of incidents involving horses on our roads has seen a massive 29% increase,” said Mr Thomas.
“Crucially, 80% of these accidents are avoidable as these are caused by drivers travelling too fast or too close to horses.”
Mr Thomas called on the Government to launch a marketing campaign promoting safety measures for horses on rural roads, perhaps on the lines of the ‘Think! Bike’ campaign, a possible reduction in the speed limit from 60mph on single carriageway rural roads and ensuring that police use their powers to pursue drivers who fail to act with due diligence around horses.
“There are hundreds of people in West Cornwall alone who enjoy the benefits of riding around our beautiful countryside,” Mr Thomas added
“Their safety, and that of their horses, should not be put at risk by a thoughtless driver who just wants to shave a few seconds off his journey time.”
Advice for motorists and riders on how to proceed safely on the road can be found at http://think.direct.gov.uk/horses.html