Burton equestrian's awareness trek for horse riders, cyclists and pedestrians encourages drivers to Pass Wide & Slow
A BURTON campaigner was riding high after getting in the saddle for a demonstration to raise awareness of vulnerable road users.
More than 40 people on horseback, bicycles and on foot joined in Ride 72, part of a series of events across the country on Sunday for the Pass Wide & Slow campaign.
The turnout for the ride, which included 15 horses and ponies along with around eight cyclists, delighted organiser Jodie Sloane, who is a Burton & Winkton parish councillor and works as a building administrator.
“It was a really good, successful awareness ride, and I’m looking forward to arranging it again next year,” the 36-year-old told the A&T.
They even gained support from local darts champion Scott Mitchell, who runs a nearby horse livery yard.
Most motorists travelling along the route were supportive, but Jodie reported there were “a couple that felt we shouldn’t have been on the roads”.
These included one who overtook on a bend and narrowly avoided colliding with an oncoming vehicle.
As reported in the A&T, a series of near-misses and collisions with vehicles involving herself and others prompted Jodie to stage the event.
It follows changes to the Highway Code in January, saying motorists should leave a width of at least two metres when overtaking horse riders and pedestrians and one-and-a-half metres when passing cyclists.
Having assembled in the Lamb Inn car park in Burley Road, Winkton, the participants completed the five-mile route around the village, Burton and Sopley within 90 minutes.
A police escort was provided in the form of a patrol car courtesy of local PCSO Anna Lillywhite who handed out hi-vis drawstring bags to children.
Jodie’s parish council colleagues provided marshals, as well as hi-vis tabards for the participants.
Christchurch councillors David Flagg and Simon McCormack also joined those gathered outside the Lamb Inn to wave them off.
Rosettes were awarded to all horses and ponies on the trek’s completion, with treats given to the dogs.
Jodie thanked all those who facilitated the event, including Buzz Interior Design which funded the banners and rosettes.
“As I always say, if I can get at least two car drivers to change their attitudes on how they approach or overtake horse riders or cyclists then I consider it a success,” she said.
“Horses are unpredictable animals at the end of the day. They have a brain, I have a brain and the car driver has a brain, and we can’t all communicate.”
Jodie said she was “proud” to have organised the event, adding: “I always try to do what I can for the local equestrian community.”