A campaign for greater awareness of how to safely overtake horse riders and cyclists on rural roads has won the backing of a national horse organisation.
The British Horse Society recently met with Kate Forbes MSP to discuss recent near-misses on Black Isle roads.
Since 2010, there have been almost 150 incidents on Scottish roads involving both motorists and horse riders – including two rider fatalities and 50 serious injuries.
Helene Mauchlen, manager of the British Horse Society in Scotland, said: “Standing on the B9163 at Kinbeachie on an early summer evening when so many riders want to access their safe off road hacking via this B road was simply terrifying.
“The speed and apparent disinterest of the cars racing between the A9 and Cromarty illustrated the problems faced by almost all horse riders and rural communities in Scotland not just on the Black Isle.
“We will definitely be using all our resources to work with horse riders and policy makers in Ross-shire to improve this situation.
“Meanwhile we urge horse riders everywhere to register any near misses on our horse accidents website so that we can monitor the extent of their concerns.”
Black Isle councillor Craig Fraser was also at the meeting and expressed his concern. He said: “Driver of all types of vehicles on Black Isle roads need to be aware of horses and their riders.
“All too often horses are ‘spooked’ by vehicles being driven at speed and without due consideration for horses and their riders.
“Drivers should consider their speeds and slow down on country roads.”
Kate Forbes MSP added: “We live in a rural area, where we should all be familiar with horse riders sharing the road.
“They have an equal right to be on the road and so should feel secure and comfortable riding.
“I am pleased that the British Horse Society is doing so much work across Scotland in raising awareness of the difficulties faced by horse riders on the road.”