HORSE lovers are calling for blanket speed limits outside stables and livery yards all over South Tyneside.
The call follows an accident in which a horse died and its female rider suffered a broken ankle when it was in collision with a van in Lizard Lane, Marsden, South Shields, on Sunday, July 13.
As police continue their inquiries to establish exactly what happened, the local horse riding community and local residents are co-ordinating moves to make borough roads safer for riders and their animals.
That led to a meeting at Cleadon Methodist Church at the weekend, attended by more than 50 people, including riders, riding school representatives, farmers, police and members of the British Horse Society.
At the gathering, a number of recommendations were drawn up.
They include pushing ahead with a demand for 20mph zones outside all livery yards in South Tyneside.
Another suggestion was for the creation of more “Pegasus” crossings in the borough – which direct motorists to give ‘special consideration’ to horses in particular areas.
There were also calls for closer collaboration between riding schools across the region and beyond. Meeting organiser, Cleadon Village resident Nigel Oxman, described the get-together as a “great success”.
Now the plan is for everyone to reconvene next month for a meeting with local councillors Tracey Dixon, Labour for Whitburn and Marsden, and Jeff Milburn, who represents Cleadon and East Boldon for the Conservatives, to drive the campaign forward.
Mr Oxman said: “I think it is fair to say that everyone left the meeting with a lot more confidence than when we went in.
“It was very positive and we have a set of goals that we want to achieve.
“The great thing is that both the British Horse Society and the police are right behind, us and we also have the support of local councillors. The police have told us they will provide us hi-vis jackets free of charge, which is great.”
Mr Oxman believes Pegasus crossings could make a real difference to horse safety.
At a minimum, these crossings are in the form of a pelican crossing but simply have two control panels, one at the normal height for pedestrians or dismounted riders, and another two metres above the ground for the use of mounted riders.
And the “green man” (walk) and “red man” (stop) pictograms are replaced with horses.
Mr Oxman said: “A number of these crossings have been installed across North Tyneside and we’d like to see the same happen in our borough.
“We really are heading in the right direction in helping to prevent another tragedy in our borough.”
A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said it wished to make no comment pending the outcome of the police investigation.
A police spokesman said inquiries into the incident on Sunday, July 13, are ongoing.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 extension 69191, quoting reference number 483130714, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”