Road Safety Advise for Horse Riders
Each year in Victoria there are a number of serious crashes involving horses and other vehicles.
Our aim is to keep riders and other road users as safe as possible, please read the following which has been produced with the support of the Victorian Horse Council (VHC) and Vic Roads to help you keep safe when riding.
Common Types of Crashes
Most crashes with horses involve:
- high speed roads - 70 kmh speed zones and above
- outer Melbourne suburbs or rural areas
- the vehicle hitting the horse from behind or side-swiping a horse as the vehicle overtakes
- the horse being spooked or bolting-, or
- the horse straying from a paddock or enclosure.
How Horse Riders Can Keep Safe
- whenever possible ride on off-road trails or tracks - stay away from fast-moving traffic as much as you can
- if possible, avoid high-speed traffic - especially where the road shoulders are narrow
- ride your horse near traffic only if you are confident that it will not be spooked. Remember, large or noisy vehicles can often spook horses
- be aware of fast-moving vehicles on rural roads especially near crests of hills or curves
- ALWAYS wear your helmet when riding
- if you must ride near traffic, make sure you wear bright, light-coloured clothing (reflective material is best) and especially avoid riding at dusk/night and
- many crashes involve the horse straying on to the road - regularly check fencing around enclosures and make sure gates stay shut
Road Safety Advise for Motorists
Motorists can avoid crashes and ensure the safety of themselves, their passengers, and horse riders by minimising the risk.
How You Can Minimise Risk
- watch out for horses being led or driven on the road - leave as much space as possible to allow for unexpected movements by the horse
- take extra care on bends, crests and on narrow roads, particularly in areas close to horse riding schools, trail ride businesses and country areas
- slow down when passing horses so your vehicle does not startle the horse, and allow plenty of room when overtaking-,
- don't use your car horn around horses - it will startle even the most placid horse and
- allow for inexperienced horse riders - especially young children.
New Road Rules for Horse Riders
On 1 December 1999, the Victorian State Government implemented a new set of road rules.
There are three changes that affect horse riders.
1. Horse riders under the age of 18 riding on a highway MUST wear a helmet
Obviously, for optimum safety it is best to wear a helmet at all times, but it is now law to wear a helmet if you are riding on a highway and you are under 18 years of age.
2. If you are riding two abreast with another rider, you must not ride more than 1.5 metres apart.
3. Horses will be allowed on footpaths and nature strips, unless specifically prohibited. Horse riders are safest well away from moving traffic.
If you have any queries, or for more information, contact VicRoads on 13 1171 or visit the VicRoads Web site at http://www.vicroads.gov.au