Horse riders are asking motorists to support their campaign for safe road use ahead of a major event this month.
Motorists are being asked to ‘Pass and Wide and Slow’’ as over 200 rides go out across Ireland and the UK on Sunday, September 18.
The Pass Wide and Slow Driver Awareness Campaign is being supported by the Portarlington based Three Counties Hacking Club, which consists of members from Laois, Offaly and Kildare.
The club issued a statement saying it is “delighted to support the Pass Wide and Slow Campaign again this year, as we welcome any efforts to increase the safety of our members and all riders on Irish Roads.”
“Our ride will leave Portarlington from the train station car park at 11am sharp, travelling through Portarlington via Station Road and Main Street, leaving for Emo via Super Value, taking the R419.”
“In Emo we will enter the woods to take a quick break at Emo Court. From there the horses will make their way back to Portarlington via the Ballymorris Road, and return to the railway station carpark, via Odlum's roundabout. The Three Counties Hacking Club welcomes anyone who would like to see the horses pass by and there will be a collection bucket in aid of Portarlington native Johnny McCowen, who has recently been diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease.”
The message is:
• Expect the unexpected!
• Give yourself and others time, in order to assess the traffic situation carefully and only overtake when it is safe to do so for both of you.
• Please comply with rider hand signals, as these often have a clear view of the situation ahead and know when the animal is prepared enough to be passed, whether from behind or on-coming.
• PASS WIDE and SLOW, a two metre distance provides room to manoeuvre safely for you, horse and rider. Driving slowly gives the animal time to process your approach and will keep noise levels down.
• Drivers need to be aware about the implications of any road incidents involving horses. It is not only the lives of horse and rider that are at stake, but the safety of drivers and their passengers too. Even a car only provides limited protection on impact with an animal weighing on average half a ton.
According to the club, most riders would prefer to seek exercise for themselves and their animals away from the escalating volume and speed of traffic. However, with many of the country's off-road trails prohibiting horse riding these days, riders are left with very little alternatives but to compete with traffic on public roads.
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