Home
Woman urges cyclists to learn how to share space safely with people on horseback after spending four days in hospital

A horse rider who was left with four broken ribs and a punctured lung when her horse was spooked by an undertaking cyclist says people on bikes need to be more aware of how to share the road safely with those on horseback.

The rider, whose name was given only as Karen, had almost returned to her yard after a ride on her horse Polly when the incident happened last Tuesday, the Horse & Hound reports. No details of the location were provided.

She said: “There was no traffic. I didn’t hear the cyclist and he didn’t shout to say he was passing – there were only inches between the edge of the road, him and me. 

“He came so close he was just about touching my stirrup. Polly got a fright and jumped off all four legs across the road.

“There was a lay-by across the road with a parked car and Polly went into the car and I came off. I remember not being able to breathe or speak.”

An occupant of one of two vehicles that stopped at the scene happened to be a nurse who works in A&E and called for an ambulance.

“I could see the cyclist stopped but he never came over and then he was gone,” Karen continued. “He left me.”

Her horse, a 15-year-old mare, was found at the stables.

After spending four days in hospital, Karen is now recovering at home.

She said: “I’m very sore even on painkillers. I left hospital on Saturday evening and still have a raspy voice from the chest drain they had to put in.

“It’s taking me a long time to get dressed and showered and I have my daughter staying with me for two weeks to help me,” she added.

The incident happened two months after a man taking part in the Windsor Triathlon, riding in the cycling leg of the event, undertook a horse rider at speed, making contact with her as he passed.

Several other people participating in the event also passed the horse and rider without slowing down, and subsequently organisers Human Race confirmed that one man had been banned from its events for life and another for 12 months.

> Police probing triathlon cyclist's undertake of horse rider

The episode was captured on the horse rider’s action camera and after road.cc’s initial coverage the story was picked up by the mainstream media.

The incident was also being investigated by Thames Valley Police, whom we have contacted for an update.

Rule 215 of the Highway Code, among other things, instructs road users to “Be particularly careful of horse riders and horse-drawn vehicles especially when overtaking,” and to “Always pass wide and slowly.”

More extensive guidance on how cyclists and horse riders can share the road safely has been issued by the British Horse Society (BHS) and is endorsed by British Cycling, and is covered in a road.cc article that can be found by following the link below.

> How to pass horse riders safely on your bike

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.