Better safety on Fenland's roads for area's equestrians theme of meeting
A fledgling group aimed at improving both road safety and better access for horse riders across Fenland held its first public meeting in Wimblington.
Over 40 people attended the meeting of the Fenland Bridleways Access Group, which was formed in June 2021 at the suggestion of Alan Hiscox of the British Horse Society, who is masterminding the society's national 'Dead Slow Campaign'.
The two hour event at the parish hall saw Mr Hiscox give a presentation on the campaign, which aims to highlight the need for motorists to slow down and give plenty of space when passing horses on the road as well as encouraging equestrians to take better safety measures too.
Also speaking at the meeting was Detective Sergeant Jo Grant from Cambridgeshire Constabulary, a keen horsewoman herself.
Both presentations highlighted the hazards and risks facing road users when combining motorised and non-motorised users including equestrians, carriage drivers, as well as cyclists and pedestrians.
Sharon Monsksfield, a Wimblington parish councillor, rider and safety officer for Cambridgeshire and eastern region, is keen to push forward better access to off road routes and safe riding on the road.
She said: "The message being that all road users have a responsibility for road safety with respect to themselves and others.
"The figures speak from themselves: During 2021 alone there were 39 reported incidents, five horses injured, three riders injured of which 80 per cent were because a driver passed too fast or too close to the horse, this is just the tip of the iceberg, as we realise that many incidents go unreported."
Both speakers explained measures in place to help improve safety on the roads including the planned changes to the Highway Code, the British Horse Society's work with government departments, the educational campaigns that are delivered to motorised road users; the benefits of high visibility attire for rider and horse, the use of body worn cameras and lights, the importance of checking equipment and the importance of mentally assessing risk, both before and during the ride.
The session concluded with opportunities to ask questions of the presenters and to thank the organisers, Fenland Bridleways Access Group, for putting on the event which included hot and cold food and beverages.
The group heartily thanked other individuals and organisations who supported the event, especially the Wimblington Parish Council and Equicentric of Little Downham, both of whose generosity and support made the evening the success it was.