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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

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.