As riders mount up this spring and summer, one western province is taking steps to ensure equestrians and horses are safe on the roads. British Columbia has created signs and launched a public awareness campaign alerting drivers that horses and riders will be more common sights during the warmer seasons.

In BC, horses and riders are considered recognized road users under the province’s Motor Vehicle Act. This means that drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians are expected to share the road and allow appropriate space for horses. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure have posted signs in rural areas to alert drivers to not only use caution but to also be courteous when they see, approach, and pass horses and riders. In other words, no honking to spook the horse!

On the ministry website  there are tips for drivers:

  • Slow down long before getting close to horses.
  • Pass at a slower speed and give the horse and rider a wide berth (typically a one-car width).
  • Brake and accelerate gently to avoid making extra noise or spraying gravel.
  • Turn off stereos. Do not honk, yell or rev the engine.
  • If travelling by bicycle, scooter or motorcycle, ride quietly and approach single file.
  • If a horse appears agitated, wait for the rider to get it under control before passing. Once past the horse and rider, accelerate gradually.

The province has also asked equestrians to do their bit for safety, asking riders to exercise caution “when travelling on narrow roads or in times of low visibility, such as dusk or dawn.” Riders are also advised to wear reflective vests, and when possible, outfit horses with high-visibility leg bands.

Read the TranBC blog HERE for more details.