Equine Road User Safety: Public attitudes, understandings and beliefs from a qualitative study in the United Kingdom

  • Published: Accident Analysis & Prevention, Volume 43, Issue 6, November 2011
  • Authors: C. Chapman and C.B.A. Musselwhite
  • Date Added: 18 Mar 2013
  • Last Update: 17 Apr 2013
  • Format: doc


To provide an exploratory understanding of the socio-psychological processes which may relate to road traffic accidents involving motorists and horse riders and to recommend measurements for policy and practice to improve road safety for all users.


Focus groups were chosen, and topic guides were followed within the groups. These topic guides were semi-structured and allowed for conversation within the group. A thematic analysis approach was used to analyse the data taken from these focus groups, and emerging themes became categories for analysis.

Key Findings:

  • Horse riders represent a significant group of vulnerable road users and are involved in a number of accidents and near misses on the road.

  • Despite this (point above) horse riders have received little attention both in terms of academic research and transport policy.

  • It was found that drivers and horse riders are not always aware of the same hazards on the road and this may lead drivers to under-estimate the risk when encountering horses.


Vulnerable road users, attitudes, road safety, driver behaviour, horses.


This paper represents one of very few pieces of peer reviewed research completed on this topic, and goes some way to explaining the social and psychological responses road users’ exhibit when encountering horse riders on the roads.