Help Forum

Help requested posted on 21st September 2016:

Horse Warning Signs

As a rural authority we get a lot of requests for accompanied horse warning signs. We have reservations within the team as to whether these signs have any influence on driver behaviour. Does anyone have any data or experience to say if they are effective?

We also get a lot of requests for wild animal warning signs as we have a lot of roaming deer. As part of a decluttering strategy we have identified these as signs that could be removed. As with the horse signs, do these signs have an impact on driver behaviour?

Gareth Denovan

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Response posted on 21st September 2016 by:
Roy Brocklebank

E: roybrocklebank@talktalk.net
T:

Horse Signs

I think they do work though subjectively I feel that I pay more credence to wild animal signs as human riders are in control and must accept some responsibility for control. Wild animals are not.

As an aside I have seen curtesy offered to horse riders but equally stupidity by some riders - high visibility black, riding side by side, being escorted by a bicycle outside the horse etc.

I was once assaulted by a horse rider when negotiating a double bend in a 30 zone - there had been no warning sign and it was infrequently used by horse riders.


Response posted on 21st September 2016 by:
Mark Gregory

E: mark.gregory@atkinsglobal.com
T:

Deer Accidents

Gareth,

please see link

http://www.deercollisions.co.uk/pages/avoid.html


Response posted on 21st September 2016 by:
Kate Carpenter

E: kate.carpenter@jacobs.com
T:

horse (and other trasient hazards)

Hi there, I understand why people think that they work, but I take the opposite view. If the hazard is infrequent, then it's likely most drivers never encounter it, despite daily experience of the route.

In psychology terms, drivers are therefore 'conditioned', to associate the stimulus (the presence of the sign) with the absence of the indicated hazard. Arguably they may therefore be LESS likely to respond more quickly (the intention) than without the sign. I was part of TSRGD review steering group, and asked about these signs and the evidence for their effectiveness, but no-one was able to produce any evidence at all that they work. I'd remove the lot: ice, falling rocks, toads, deer, cows etc.


Response posted on 21st September 2016 by:
Andrew Fraser

E: andrew.fraser@falkirk.gov.uk
T:

Deer warning signs

Try:

http://www.deercrash.org/Toolbox/CMToolboxDeerCrossingSigns.pdf

http://www.defenders.org/publications/methods_to_reduce_traffic_crashes_involving_deer.pdf

See also Table 16 in:

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=rOZ0g636tdsC&pg=PA260&lpg=PA260&dq=deer+warning+signs+effect&source=bl&ots=fcf03FHjBk&sig=WeRltAadKUWfZ9mH9YyJmCa1qbc&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi3t6TDxKDPAhUjOsAKHY1DCJ0Q6AEIXTAJ#v=onepage&q=deer%20warning%20signs%20effect&f=false

It seems that deer warning signs do not reduce accidents involving deer.

I haven't found anything specifically on ridden horses, but this may be generally relevant:

http://www.safetyhumanfactors.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/262-Wogalter2005.pdf

One does wonder why we still keep adding signs to the TSRGD ... when they don't work.


Response posted on 21st September 2016 by:
Honor Byford

E: Honor.Byford@northyorks.gov.uk
T:

Horse Warning Signs

Whilst I appreciate the technical reasoning Kate and others put forward, I think we need to be careful not to assume that the absence of evidence that a sign works = evidence that it doesn't. If there is a likely hazard to drivers or, more improtantly, to the vulnerable road user groups involved, then the available warning sign should be used. All drivers have had to learn the sign whilst learning to drive and whilst the conscious recognition and behavioural change may not be apparent that does not mean there is no effect. Where the wevidence is unclear, then your priority must be to protect the Vulnerable Road Users. You would have to undertake a risk assessment from the point of view of the VRU and that should include checking your own and other sources of data including the deercollisions data and also the British Horse Society website where riders report equestrian accidents and incidents. This would still not include all near-misses - can you survey your local horse riders/owners? If the evidence is not strong-compelling to justify removal my opinion is you should keep the warning signs in place.


Response posted on 22nd September 2016 by:
David Harris

E: dthonwheels@gmail.com
T:

Horse Signs

With regard to a previous contribution, we have to start from the position that the driver is always the one who has the licence and any incident will include close investigation of what the driver did or didn't do regardless of the horse rider's actions. This doesn't take away the responsibility from the horse rider for common sense and safety. There are good reasons why they are sometimes two abreast but the decisions about wearing black or using bicycles may be less persuasive. Sign of all types don't get seen or acted upon by many drivers and unless there is evidence to support their removal, they should remain if the need is equally justified as well as to support any action against any party involved in an incident.


Response posted on 23rd September 2016 by:
Andrew Fraser

E: andrew.fraser@falkirk.gov.uk
T:

All sorts of warning signs.

Will not ignoring "technical reasoning" and erecting signs to warn of "likely" hazards after "risk assessments" end in a similar way as did the little boy who cried "wolf" once too often?

It should also be remembered that every sign is an obstruction in the road and that, every now and again, a sign is a factor in personal injury or death.

Deciding whether or not to erect a sign is, therefore a serious business and we should not be swayed by the use of emotive terminology like "vulnerable road user".


Response posted on 29th September 2016 by:
Alan Hiscox

E: alan.hiscox@bhs.org.uk
T:

Horse Warning Signs

Dear Gareth,
Please can you contact me regarding your post.
Thank you,
Alan Hiscox.
Director of Safety,
British Horse Society.


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