The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure calls on drivers to “use extra caution and be courteous when passing horses and riders in rural areas,” this summer.
As the sunny weather sees more equestrians steering their charges on to the roads, the ministry has decided to assist drivers by improving signage, including tabs providing more information about where horses can be expected. They hope the signs will remind drivers and riders to “share the road,” as they do with cyclists and pedestrians, “to prevent surprise and promote courtesy and safety for all.”
Many drivers perhaps don’t realize that horses and their riders are recognized road users in the Motor Vehicle Act, and drivers should expect their presence when passing through rural areas.
The ministry collaborated with the Horse Council of B.C. to improve the wording on the signs as well as to receive guidance on where they should be placed. The signs are available for any regions that want to improve awareness in areas where horseback riding is popular.
In a statement, the ministry said, “Drivers can watch for signs at the start of any roadway or along narrow or winding roads commonly used for horseback riding. However, even in areas without posted signs, the ministry reminds all travellers to use caution and stay alert for diverse road users.”
The new advice reminds drivers to slow down, give a wide berth, accelerate slowly to avoid kicking up gravel, limit noise and only pass if the horse doesn’t seem agitated.
Riders have some responsibility too, and have been told to use caution when travelling on narrow roads or in times of low visibility.They should also wear reflective vests, and adorn their horses with high-visibility leg bands.
For more information about sharing the road safely with horses and riders visit tranbc.ca.