Motorists and horse riders must respect each other

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The death of Lindy Harding has been a devastating blow to her family and many friends. They take some small comfort that she died while out horse riding, the passion of her life.

The circumstances of her death were, it seems clear, an entire accident.

Her pony Flumpy, for a reason that might never be known, unexpectedly bolted from a bridlepath on to a road and into the path of a car.

The tragedy has, though, caused Lindy’s wide circle of friends to focus on the general issue of safety for horse riders.

And that has led them to launch a campaign in her memory, urging drivers to be more aware of horses and ponies on the roads.

Hopefully, many will not need to be reminded – they already slow down as they pass an animal and give it as wide a berth as possible as they do so.

But regrettably there are many occasions on which a motorist, frustrated perhaps by not being able to immediately overtake a slow-moving horse or pony, proceeds to drive in a way that could endanger both animal and rider.

And, of course, the other side of the coin is that horse riders should always ensure that they and their charges are properly equipped from a road safety point of view.

Lindy Harding certainly was and it is sad in the extreme that, despite this, she was the victim of a fatal accident.

But if a campaign in her memory spurs others who might not by nature be so prepared to think again about safety, then it will have achieved results.

Cars and horses will never be an easy mix on our roads and, as a correspondent observes on our letters pages today, the days of quiet roads for riders are now largely gone.

It is possible though for motorists and riders to, with a little thought, go the extra yard in looking out for each other.

We hope that Lindy’s friends see success in their campaign and that it brings some comfort to know that others might behave in a safer way as a result of the warnings prompted by her untimely and accidental death.