Drivers warned in new police operation as more than 40 horse riders die on region's roads

More than 40 horse riders have died on the region's roads since 2010 with one animal involved in an accident every single day, prompting one Yorkshire police force to launch a new campaign educating motorists.

Officers from South Yorkshire Police's mounted section have been out on the road in a bid to educate drivers on how to pass a horse safely.

Officers from South Yorkshire Police's mounted section and roads policing group have taken to the streets in Sheffield this week to ensure drivers are passing horses safely while on the road.

The initiative also enables officers to ensure that horse riders are also not posing a risk to drivers.

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Officers stopped a total of 35 drivers over a two-day period this week, out of which, 30 were spoken to about their poor driving, lack of awareness and space, or overall behaviour while passing police horses.

Sergeant Matt Duffy said: “Even the most well behaved horse can react in certain situations and unlike when passing a cyclist, there is an additional brain/reaction to take into consideration; horses can be unpredictable.

“As a driver adhering to laws and advice, you are not only keeping the horse and rider safe, but you are also keeping yourself safe; a horse or rider falling on to your car can have devastating consequences."

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A total of 140 people have also been injured because of road incidents.

Forty-five per cent of riders were victims of road rage or abuse, while 80 per cent of incidents happened because a vehicle passed by too closely to the horse.

Sgt Duffy said: “Drivers need to provide as much space as possible when passing a horse, it is important that you slow down and keep your car as quiet as possible. Once you have passed the horse please remember to increase your speed slowly as you drive away.

“While driving on country roads, always think about what could be round the next bend and amend your driving accordingly.”