BHS 2023 Figures Report 66 Horses Killed and 3 Equestrians

According to its figures, the British Horse Society (BHS) has announced that, in 2023, at least one horse per week was killed on the roads across the UK, and that during that same time period, three equestrians also died as a result of a road incident – the highest number of human fatalities in horse-related road accidents recorded by the charity since 2018.

These alarming statistics are a stark reminder that road incidents continue to be an issue across the UK, despite the changes implemented in the Highway Code in 2022 setting out clear guidance for passing horses safely.

A shocking 3,383 incidents were reported to the BHS over the course of 2023, with 85% of those occurring because a vehicle had passed too closely or too quickly. Reports also showed that 23% of riders had been victims of road rage or abuse.

Alan Hiscox, Director of Safety at the BHS, said: “Looking at the 2023 statistics, it is clear that a significant number of drivers are still unaware of the Highway Code and the importance of driving carefully when passing and approaching horses. This is detrimental to the safety of equestrians.

“We want to inform and guide road users on how to pass horses safely, explaining the consequences of passing too fast and too close.”

As part of its Dead Slow road safety campaign, the BHS is working with key stakeholders and MPs to raise awareness of the guidance set out in the Highway Code – passing horses must be done at speeds under 10mph and at least 2m of space should be given.

Alan added: “While we recognise and thank all those drivers who continue to follow the Highway Code guidance, there is still much work to do in order to ensure all horses and equestrians remain safe when out hacking.

“To help us continue to keep horses, riders and carriage drivers safe, we are encouraging anyone who has been involved in an incident to record it via the Horse i app. We can then identify hotspots, advise stakeholders and work towards permanent change in some drivers’ behaviour. The more incidents that are recorded, the more we can do to protect the rights of horse riders on Britain’s roads.”