'Cars just don't slow down'
Horse riders petition for safer roadsLIBBY WILSON
Horse lovers who ride alongside New Zealand roads are tired of dangerous drivers, says a Tuakau woman who is petitioning Parliament for safer riding conditions.
''NZ's once quiet, safe country roads have become too risky for horse riders, dealing with speeding motorists and increased traffic. Riders are experiencing too many near misses from careless, dangerous drivers,'' said Jan Mossman.
''We're talking about quiet, country roads. We're not interested in riding on busy, dangerous roads.''
She wants to see safe riding on the berms of country roads which allow riders to get to off-road trails - and she says more of those need to allow horses.
The written petition has gathered more than 10,000 signatures over the past 15 months, and the online version has added almost 1200 in little over a week.
''Some [people] have no choice but to ride on the road, and they have to hold their breath. They're just so stressed of vehicles coming by to sideswipe them,'' said Ms Mossman.
But while Waikato has its share of signatories on the petition, the majority of riders contacted by the Waikato Times said they stayed far away from traffic because it wasn't worth the risk.
Leamington Pony Club president Carol Dix said drivers did not know how to act around horses, and she fully supported the petition.
''Cars just don't slow down,'' she said.''People just don't understand. Horses can spook and if they do spook they can fly out into the middle of the road.''
She doesn't ride on the road, but she has seen bad driver behaviour while behind the wheel. Once she slowed near horses which were playing up, and the person behind sped up and overtook her.''He just pulled out - and you know, they have those souped-up cars - and he just took off. And the horses just nutted, but he didn't even worry about it. He was just gone. But that's what I think it is. I think it's more ignorance than people meaning to upset horses.''
Long-term Cambridge rider Carol Harrison said drivers tended to pass horses ''like you're a lamppost''.
''They'll give you half a metre to spare at speed.''
The petition will be handed to National MP Ian McKelvie in a private meeting on Tuesday, and he will table it in Parliament.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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