Safety Tip: Horsesby Tom Armstrong
At the bike shop one day, a customer asked me about club meetings. When asked why, she said that she wanted to spread the word that cyclists were endangering horse riders, by riding too close to and spooking the horses.
Some of you have been part of the scenario: A cyclist approaches a horse from behind, fails to tell the rider (and the horse) of his or her presence, and is kicked by the horse. Or, when the cyclist passes the horse, the animal is spooked by the sudden appearance of a threat (horses tend to think of anything that moves as a threat until proven otherwise), leading to an injured rider. A relatively silent cyclist can spook even a horse that is normally aware of surrounding traffic.
I see an interesting parallel between how we, as cyclists, deal with horses (on the roads, in local parks such as Iroquois, or on trails anywhere else) and how motorists deal with us. It would be hypocritical for us to “buzz” horses and their owners and also decry motorists “buzzing ” us. There is no reason to add such danger to our lives,or to the lives of others, by spooking horses.
When nearing a horse, call out at some distance, so that the horse’s rider knows where you are. The rider may ask that you slow down as you pass, or give more room, or may tell you that the horse will be fine with you being there. The rider may want to stop and turn the horse so that it knows you are there. In any case, communicate with, don’t shock, the horse and rider.
Those horse owners drive trucks with wide trailers, you know. . . .
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web posted: 2 January 2004
last updated: 3 January 2004