Island Farm & Garden Magazine May-June 2022

Page 14

the reasons for ‘road riding’ and how ensuring safety is everyone’s responsibility

motorists: hold your

horses

by Terri Perrin, Back Country Horsemen of BC photo courtesy of Horse Council BC

A

s the weather warms up and signs of spring appear across beautiful British Columbia, you may notice more than wildflowers along our rural roadways. Horses and riders, eager to get out and enjoy some exercise, will become a more common sight. According to representatives from the Back Country Horsemen of BC Society (BCHBC) and Horse Council BC (HCBC), the arrival of spring for equestrians is both a cause for celebration and for concern because ‘road riding’ has to be done with safety as the number one priority. “Consideration for the environment, increasing fuel costs, and lack of access to a truck and trailer have made road riding a favorable choice for many,” explains Sarah Allison, recreation director for HCBC. “Riders — and drivers of horse-drawn carriages — may need to be on the road to get from one farm to another, from a stable to a trailhead, or because the road itself 14

Island Farm & Garden - May-June 2022

forms one section of an established equestrian trail.” With the urbanization of our society as a whole, many road users have had little exposure to horses and other livestock they may encounter in the country. While horseback riders do play a role in ensuring their own safety — by staying on the side of the road, moving slowly and wearing appropriate safety gear and hivisibility clothing — other road users have responsibilities, too. What Motorists Need to Know The BC Motor Vehicle Act (Part 3, Section 119, paragraph 1) states that “traffic” includes pedestrians and ridden or herded animals, as well as vehicles. The next paragraph in the BCMVA states that “a person riding an animal or driving an animal driven vehicle on a highway has the rights and is subject to the duties of the driver of a vehicle.” HCBC says that the most important thing for road users to be aware of when they encounter livestock or horses being ridden, driven, led, or loaded into trailers on or near the road is to