Horse riders are on alert for the Tour de France’s historic visit to Yorkshire next weekend, and the British Horse Society is offering key advice for both equestrians and cyclists.
Le Grand Départ will go through Yorkshire and into the Peak District. About 40,000 spectators are expected to line the six-mile stretch of Derbyshire road.
Sheila Hardy, Senior Executive (Safety) at The British Horse Society, and a keen horse rider and cyclist, said: “We are all very excited by the prospect of the Tour coming to the region and understand that many more people will want to be out and about enjoying their bikes.
“However, horses can be easily frightened by bikes, especially if they are travelling at speed or in large groups. Therefore we would encourage horse riders and cyclists to follow a few simple precautions that will help all road users to stay safe and enjoy this monumental sporting event.”
Advice for cyclists:
- Let riders know you’re there – A horse is unlikely to see or hear you, especially if you are approaching quietly from behind. Call out before you pass and don’t get too close.
- Slow down – Pass slowly with consideration.
- Pass wide and on the right – Most horses are used to traffic passing them on the right so overtake as you would anyone else; don’t cut inside, and allow plenty of room in case the horse is surprised or startled.
- Pass in small groups – Large groups of cyclists are very scary for horses. Passing in small groups of no more than four or five will really help.
- Be aware that many roads will be closed for an extended period of time if the Tour is running through your area. If this will affect access to your horse it is important that you make alternative arrangements.
- Be prepared that there will be many more people out on their bikes in the run up to the Tour and beyond.
- Wear reflective and fluorescent clothing at all times to help you be seen by other road users.
- Keep your eyes and ears open and watch your horse’s ears – he may often hear a cyclist before you do.
“A horse is a friend and companion to the person who cares for him – to them he is priceless. However, while a cycle may not be a living animal, it has still cost the owner a great deal of money to buy and maintain,” Hardy said.
“Recognising the time, financial and emotional investment made by both horse riders and cyclists goes a long way to helping us all stay safe on the road. There is room for everyone. It just needs a little care, courtesy and consideration being shown to each other.”