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Horse road safety event in Clooney

THE Pass Wide and Slow campaign will be taking to the road on September 19, to raise awareness about the dangers associated with how drivers and horse riders interact on Irish roads.
In Clare, this campaign will be brought to the public’s attention in Clooney, via a walk involving riders and their mounts, as well as cyclists, walkers and children from the local national school, close to which the walk will start.
The main aim of the initiative is to promote road safety in the context of how drivers and horse riders must respect each other’s right to the road; one of the central messages of Pass Wide and Slow is to do just that- leave at least two metres between vehicle and animal.
Spokeswoman for the event, Máire Gleeson, said: “As soon as a driver sees a horse on the road, they should slow to a maximum of 15km per hour. We have been working for two or three years to raise awareness for things like that, and it is really coming to the forefront now. A specific handbook has been released for equestrian road safety, which will be handing out on the day.”
The campaign also promotes that if space is not available in a situation where vehicles are passing horses, that the driver be responsible by slowing down or stopping to allow the horse and rider to pass or otherwise organise themselves in a safe manner.
Máire said that Ireland is in a uniquely difficult situation regarding accessibility for horses, as most of the riding paths still intact are closed off because of the ownership of the land they run through.
Coillte owns many of the areas in question, and Máire stressed that if talks could be held with the organisation about the use of the riding paths, there might be fewer uninsured riders taking risks on the road in the future.
“We use the roads to train and exercise. I am lucky enough to have an arena now, but for many years I was out on the road. I met so much hostility and abuse, putting me in dangerous situations where I would end up in the ditch. That kind of danger put me and many of my friends off the road for a long time.”
Máire emphasises that in order to make the roads safer for everyone, it is not just drivers that need to be responsible; she stresses that the Pass Wide and Slow campaign also promotes that riders remember to wear their visibility vests and protective gear, respecting the space they are using on the road, at all times.
Máire can be contacted at 0868248092 by those interested in registering to take part in the event, and more information can be found on the Pass Wide and Slow Facebook page.

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