Did you know that horses and riders are recognized road users under the Motor Vehicle Act? And that if you are driving in the 70 Mile area, you might see a unicorn?
If your vehicle’s horsepower comes from under the hood rather than from hooves, you might not know that the 70 Mile area is a hotbed of horse-drawn carriage activity, or that a “unicorn” is a trio of horses harnessed in a triangular formation. Because of the proliferation of old-fashioned horsepower vehicles on the roads in the area, the Ministry of Transportation installed special signs in the region, warning drivers that it’s important to share the road safely with horses and to be vigilant, particularly in rural areas.
Watch for signs indicating the possible presence of horses on roads, and be careful around them, particularly when passing. Loud noises, such as horns or revving engines, can startle horses and trigger unpredictable behaviour, which is a danger to riders, animals, and drivers.
If you see a horse and rider, or a horse-drawn vehicle, on the road, slow down before you get too close. If you pass them, slow down even more than you usually would and give them a wide berth (at least one car width). Turn down your stereo or radio, don’t yell, honk, or rev your engine, and brake/accelerate gently to avoid making extra noise or spraying gravel.
If the horse appears agitated, slow down or stop and wait for the rider/driver to get it under control before you try to pass. Once past them, accelerate gradually.
Horse riders should use caution when travelling on narrow roads or in times of low visibility, such as dusk or dawn. Riders are advised to wear reflective vests, as well as outfit horses with high-visibility leg bands when possible.