Horse riders to protest at dangerous motorists

Slag Lane
Slag Lane
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A protest ride has been arranged by horse riders to highlight the dangers posed to those tackling a popular route in the borough.

Dozens of riders are expected for the hack along Slag Lane, in Lowton, as part of the British Horse Society’s Ride Out UK Month.

Other news: Taxi driver taken to hospital after crash

Equine enthusiasts will be stressing the importance of the society’s Pass Wide and Slow campaign, which they say particularly applies to the semi-rural route.

Society research claims 38 riders have been killed and 222 horses lost their lives in the UK, between November 2010 and March 2017, as a result of 2,510 incidents involving vehicles.

Some 81 per cent of collisions are said to have occurred as a result of cars passing horses too closely in the road.

One of the riders taking part in the local protest will be Anne-Theresa Dunn, 31, a nurse who lives in Golborne but grew up in Lowton and stables her horse Chunk nearby.

She said: “I feel like there are some fantastic drivers out there, who pass us really wide and slowly, and we appreciate that.

“It is just that some don’t adjust their speed and try to overtake us at inappropriate points in the road and cause problems.

“While the horse may look calm, it only takes a slight movement and then you’ve got something which is capable of setting off at around 60mph and is completely unpredictable.”

No fewer than six stables are located along Slag Lane and the adjoining Byrom Lane, with popular bridle paths around Pennington Flash and the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at either end.

Campaigners believe there is a lack of education among motorists, when it comes to dealing with horses and their riders.

A British Horse Society spokesman said: “People are not taught how to pass a horse safely and it isn’t clear in the Highway Code.

“And it is not explicitly taught during lessons.

“Some driving instructors are not fully aware how to conduct themselves safely around horses.”

Riders will be assembling on the Canal and Rivers Trust car park, near the Plank Lane bridge, at 11am on Sunday, May 6, for the ride.

Later in the month the BHS is also hosting a major ride out, the Wigan Rendevous, on May 20, which will see riders from Amberswood, Leigh and Bickershaw take part in 15, 10 and seven mile circular routes around the borough, in aid of the society’s communities fund, Leigh District Access Group and the Bickershaw Project.