The petition of residents of the United Kingdom,
Declares that the current national speed limit in use on Spatham Lane, Streat Lane and Underhill Lane in the County of East Sussex is unsuitable as it is a danger to other users of the lanes, notably equestrians; further that the petition follows an incident that took place on Spatham Lane during September 2017 whereby a car collided with resident of Ditchling Mrs Beverley Berrill, who was on horseback; further that the accident resulted in the temporary hospitalisation of Mrs Berrill and the termination of the horse; and further that the incident has resulted in distress for local equestrians who wish to exercise their use of the local lanes in safety.
The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to reclassify said roads as quiet lanes, or alternatively reduce the speed limit of the said lanes from its current national speed limit classification, to ensure greater safety for equestrians and other users of the lanes.
And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Maria Caulfield, Official Report, 21 March 2018; Vol. 635, c. 355.]
Observations from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Jesse Norman):
Local traffic authorities are responsible for setting speed limits on local roads. They have the flexibility to set local speed limits that are appropriate for the individual road, reflecting local needs and taking account of local considerations. The Department issued guidance to local highway authorities on setting local speed limits in 2013, which can be viewed online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/setting-local-speed-limits.
All road users are required to comply with road traffic law in the interests of their own safety and that of other road users. For those who do not adopt a responsible attitude, or if their use of the highway creates an unsafe environment or causes nuisance, there are laws in place that can make them liable for prosecution. The offences include: driving dangerously, driving without due care and attention, and driving without reasonable consideration for other road users. This is set out in Rule 144 of The Highway Code and the penalties for these offences are listed in Annex 5. The Highway Code is available online at: www.gov.uk/browse/driving/highway-code-road-safety.
Enforcement of the law is a matter for the police who will decide, on the evidence of each individual case, whether an offence has been committed and the appropriate action to take.
The Department takes every opportunity to remind motorists of their responsibilities towards vulnerable road users, such as equestrians and their horses.
The Department, through the THINK! Road Safety Campaign, worked with the British Horse Society (BHS) to support its “Dead Slow” campaign to encourage car drivers to pass horses safely. The Department was able to reinforce the BHS campaign by developing a short film that is being promoted as a public information film on UK TV stations.
The Department also invested in promoting the film on YouTube and other social media, such as Twitter and Facebook. Leaflets and posters to support the campaign further reminded motorists of the need to be patient when they encounter horses on the road, and supplemented the advice already given in the Highway Code.
In addition THINK! launched a campaign to warn drivers of the dangers of country roads. Details of the campaign can be found at: http://think.direct.gov.uk/country-roads.html.
The driving theory test contains questions about how drivers should interact with vulnerable road users, including horse riders; and the hazard perception test includes a number of clips where horse riders are the hazard, either directly or indirectly. These clips are refreshed and updated periodically.