Cycling UK and the British Horse Society (BHS) have launched a joint campaign called Be Nice, Say Hi to reinforce the need for cyclists to take special care when encountering someone on horseback.

The two charities decided to collaborate on the initiative after an incident earlier this year in which a competitor on the cycling leg of the Windsor Triathlon was filmed as he undertook a horse rider at speed, striking her. Video of the incident subsequently went viral on social media.

The launch of the campaign comes days after an incident in which a woman sustained broken ribs and a punctured lung when her horse was spooked due to a cyclist undertaking it.

> Woman suffers punctured lung and broken ribs as horse she was riding spooked by cyclist who undertook them without warning

The campaign calls on cyclists to slow down when they see someone on horseback and to call out a greeting alerting both horse and rider to their presence, which the charities say will make it less likely for the horse to be spooked, reducing the risk of injury not only to horse and rider but also to the cyclist themselves.

It is accompanied by the issue of a new leaflet drawn up jointly by the two organistaions giving guidance to h bike riders.

Duncan Dollimore, head of campaigns at Cycling UK, said: “Every time a cyclist encounters a horse, there are three brains involved: the cyclist’s, the rider’s and the horse’s.

“Many people aren’t familiar with horses, and there can be confusion on what they should do when overtaking on a bike.

“Cyclists may already know to pass wide and slow when it’s safe to do so – but they could still startle the horse unless the horse and rider are made aware of your presence.

“Generally, if a cyclist startles a horse, it is due to simple lack of awareness that a horse needs more time to react, which is why Cycling UK is pleased to be helping the BHS promote the consideration and courtesy message of ’Be nice, say hi’.”

Alan Hiscox, director of safety at the BHS, commented: “We’re thrilled to be collaborating with Cycling UK as both groups are vulnerable road users and will benefit from working together to share the roads.

“We are encouraging riders to respond positively to cyclists who pass with consideration and reciprocate their courtesy.

“Horses are flight animals and may react to anything they are unsure of. By promoting the ‘Be nice, say hi’ message, we hope more cyclists will appreciate the potential risk they pose.”

He added: “If all road users are considerate and mindful of one another we can reduce the number of incidents between horses, cyclists and vehicles.”  

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