Inconsiderate drivers stopped for not passing horse riders safely in Northamptonshire

A Northamptonshire Police volunteers on horseback rider waves past a more considerate driver during the Operation Close Pass test
A Northamptonshire Police volunteers on horseback rider waves past a more considerate driver during the Operation Close Pass test

Drivers who failed to safely overtake a horse rider in Northamptonshire were pulled over and given advice on what to do it properly by police.

Riders from Northamptonshire Police's volunteers on horseback scheme and the safer roads team took to the roads around Mawsley and Nobottle to educate any unsafe motorists.

Equipped with radios, the horse riders were on the lookout for drivers who failed to slow down enough or give them enough room when overtaking or passing them.

A dozen offenders were stopped by the road safety officers and given advice on why passing horses wide and slow is so important.

PC David Lee from the team said: “Most of the drivers who passed our volunteers on horseback riders did so respectfully and safely, which was great to see.

"Those who didn’t were either going past wide enough but too fast, or slow enough but too close, and some were waiting to pass too close behind the horses, because they just didn’t appreciate the risks of what they were doing.

“The whole point of the patrols were to educate people and it was great that everyone we spoke to was so receptive to the advice we gave, which will help keep drivers and vulnerable road users safer in the future.”

The scheme was part of Operation Close Pass, a road safety initiative promoting how to pass vulnerable road users at appropriate speeds and safe distances,

The Highway Code states motorists should give motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders at least as much room as they would when overtaking a car, and the British Horse Society recommends slowing down to 15mph when overtaking.

PC Lee said riders are encouraged to make sure they and their horse are easy to spot by using high visibility clothing and accessories, and to thank considerate drivers whenever it is safe to do so.

“Horses are large animals which have evolved to run from danger, and a car, motorbike or cyclist shooting past at speed, or passing too close, can pose a real risk to everyone involved," he added.

“Taking time to slow right down and pass horses with plenty of room, whether overtaking or going in the opposite direction, keeps you as a driver safer, as well as protecting the rider and their horse.

"Even if they can’t safely take a hand off the reins to say thank you, they’ll really appreciate it.

Further Operation Close Pass patrols with the volunteers on horseback riders are set to take place in the autumn, according to police. For more information, visit www.northants.police.uk/closepass