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Animals 2015, 5(3), 592-609; doi:10.3390/ani5030374

Inroads into Equestrian Safety: Rider-Reported Factors Contributing to Horse-Related Accidents and Near Misses on Australian Roads

1
The Appleton Institute, CQUniversity, 44 Greenhill Road, Wayville, SA 5034, Australia
2
School of Natural and Built Environments, Civil Engineering, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marina von Keyserlingk
Received: 21 April 2015 / Revised: 2 June 2015 / Accepted: 3 June 2015 / Published: 22 July 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Horses and Risk)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [252 KB, uploaded 22 July 2015]   |  

Simple Summary

Riding horses on roads can be dangerous, but little is known about accidents and near misses. To explore road safety issues amongst Australian equestrians, we conducted an online survey. More than half of all riders (52%) reported having experienced at least one accident or near miss in the 12 months prior to the survey, mostly attributed to speed. Whilst our findings confirmed factors identified overseas, we also identified issues around road rules, hand signals and road rage. This paper suggests strategies for improving the safety of horses, riders and other road users.

Abstract

Horse riding and horse-related interactions are inherently dangerous. When they occur on public roads, the risk profile of equestrian activities is complicated by interactions with other road users. Research has identified speed, proximity, visibility, conspicuity and mutual misunderstanding as factors contributing to accidents and near misses. However, little is known about their significance or incidence in Australia. To explore road safety issues amongst Australian equestrians, we conducted an online survey. More than half of all riders (52%) reported having experienced at least one accident or near miss in the 12 months prior to the survey. Whilst our findings confirm the factors identified overseas, we also identified issues around rider misunderstanding of road rules and driver misunderstanding of rider hand signals. Of particular concern, we also found reports of potentially dangerous rider-directed road rage. We identify several areas for potential safety intervention including (1) identifying equestrians as vulnerable road users and horses as sentient decision-making vehicles (2) harmonising laws regarding passing horses, (3) mandating personal protective equipment, (4) improving road signage, (5) comprehensive data collection, (6) developing mutual understanding amongst road-users, (7) safer road design and alternative riding spaces; and (8) increasing investment in horse-related safety initiatives. View Full-Text
Keywords: horse-rider; road safety; decision-making vehicle; risk; Australia horse-rider; road safety; decision-making vehicle; risk; Australia
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Thompson, K.; Matthews, C. Inroads into Equestrian Safety: Rider-Reported Factors Contributing to Horse-Related Accidents and Near Misses on Australian Roads. Animals 2015, 5, 592-609.

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