Operation Safe Pass: Modification of the highway code on the passage of horses


Holywell organized a joint road safety initiative which raised awareness of recent traffic law changes regarding the passage of horses.

Operation Safe Pass, organized by North Wales Police in partnership with North Wales Horse Watch and the British Horse Society, took place at the Bridlewood Riding Center in Holywell.

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Officers from the Rural Crime Team, Road Policing and Community Safety Unit accompanied the riders on the roads, while stopping road users to give advice and awareness how to overtake horses safely.

Last year alone, 237 road incidents involving horses and vehicles in Wales were reported to the British Horse Society, including one horse death.

Changes that were made to the Highway Code earlier this year include advice for drivers to:

  • Pass the horses at no more than 10 mph
  • Keep a minimum distance of two meters

Helen Lacey, police service volunteer and coordinator of the North Wales Horse Watch charity, said: ‘Equestrians are now ranked alongside cyclists in the new road user hierarchy, designed to protect the most vulnerable.

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“The new changes will improve the safety of horses and their handlers, including driven, carriage driven and ridden horses in traffic.

“This event was a great way to raise awareness of the new changes and hopefully helped make riders safer on the roads.”

Chris James from the Rural Crime Team said: “The day was a real success, engaging with motorists, offering advice and raising awareness of recent traffic law amendments.

“If you see a horse in the road, our advice is to slow down to a maximum of 10mph, be patient and pass the wide, slow horse, with at least a two-metre gap, before slowly moving away .

“Driving carefully, especially when cornering on narrow roads, will help you spot horses and riders in time and react safely.

“However, staying safe on the road applies to all of us, whether we’re traveling on four wheels or on four legs.”

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Alan Hiscox, Director of Security at the British Horse Society, said: “It is great that North Wales Police and the British Horse Society (BHS) can work in partnership on the Operation Safe Pass event.

“These joint initiatives are essential to raise awareness about the safe passing of horses on the road, especially with the recent changes in traffic laws.

“Last year alone, 237 road incidents involving horses and vehicles in Wales were reported to the BHS, including one horse fatality.

“To reduce these numbers, we are educating motorists on what to do when they encounter horses on the road with our ‘Dead Slow’ campaign.

“Recognizing that there are three brains at work when a car meets a mounted horse, we urge all road users to exercise patience and courtesy in order to save the lives of riders, horses and drivers.

More information on the changes to the traffic regulations can be found here.


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