As the weather warms up, the B.C. government is reminding drivers to share the road with horses and riders, especially in rural areas.
“Horses and their riders are recognized road users in the Motor Vehicle Act,” the province said in a news release.
Last year, the government improved its signage to alert drivers to use extra caution, allow extra room and be courteous when passing horses and riders. Signs remind drivers and riders to “share the road,” as they do with cyclists and pedestrians.
The reminder comes as the Cariboo Country Carriage Club is preparing to host a carriage driving competition in 70 Mile House this weekend, May 21-22, at the Huber Farm. The club, which trains horse-drawn carriage drivers on roads in and around 70 Mile House, lobbied for the signs in 2011.
The club hosts a bulk of the carriage competitions in B.C.
“It really does benefit because people know that’s there as a warning so if they see them they slow down,” said Dennis Huber.
The signs, a collaboration between the ministry and the Horse Council of B.C., are available for any regions that want to improve awareness in areas where horseback riding is popular.
Huber said they will be lobbying to put up more signs around the province, noting they would be useful in areas like Lone Butte or Buffalo Creek. He noted areas on Vancouver Island and in Quesnel and Telwa are also looking into it.
“They could be all over the place before too long,” he said.
The province urges horse riders to use caution and stay alert for diverse road users, even when signs are not present. They should also take care when travelling on narrow roads or in times of low visibility, such as dusk or dawn. Riders should wear reflective vests, as well as outfit horses with high-visibility leg bands when possible.