Fergal KilkennyTom CooperKieron Gribbon
read more about the authors
Blog ethics

Riding Out in Northern Ireland

Posted on October 13, 2021 @ 1:08 PM in Mountainbiking

Share the Space

The British Horse Society have launched a brand-new video aimed at educating users of shared space and multi-user* routes in Northern Ireland.

Enjoy, share and remember – be polite, say hi! and stay on the #RightSideOfOutside


*Multi-user is defined as Walkers, Cyclists and Horse Riders


Top Tips for Mountain Bikers

  • “Be nice, say hi” – be polite and respect others
  • Ensure you pass horses and others safely – if you’re unsure, stop
  • Keep dogs on a lead and under close control
  • Look after the places you love
  • Leave no trace of litter


Did you know...

  • There are not enough safe off-road places for equestrians to access in Northern Ireland. Despite being ‘Horse Country’ there is a staggering lack of legal Public Rights of Way which include equestrian rights.
  • A total of under 1% of the Public Right of Way Network in Northern Ireland provides access for equestrians. This is considerably less than the neighbouring countries of England and Wales where 22% of the network is available, 5% of which is accessible to carriage drivers.
  • Horse riders are vulnerable road users, just like walkers and cyclists.
  • Sadly, there have been 4,140 incidents in the UK reported to the BHS since 2010
  • 76% were in rural areas
  • 89% involved vehicles passing too close or too fast to the horse.
  • In 2020, there were 46 horses killed on rural roads, 118 horses and 130 riders injured as a result of a collision with a vehicle.
  • The vast majority of equestrians use the road as they have no safe off-road alternative. Some hack to, or transport a horse to an access site such as a forest or beach; however these type of sites are not readily or sufficiently available throughout Northern Ireland.


What are The British Horse Society doing about it?

The BHS are working hard with the Northern Ireland government on a national and local level, engaging with key stakeholders including The Ramblers, The Disabled Ramblers, Sustrans, Cycling UK and landowners to open and protect safe off-road access for equestrians. The majority of these routes are multiuser and are therefore places that are also shared with and enjoyed by walkers and cyclists. Together, we have been making very positive progress. Watch this space.

To learn more about our work to improve access in Northern Ireland click here: www.bhs.org.uk/ireland

To support the great work achieved by the BHS, join as a member here from as little as £7/month: www.bhs.org.uk/membership 

Elizabeth Birtley
Elizabeth Birtley  Executive Project Lead & Communications at British Horse Society

Post a Comment

Name *

Email Address * (will not be published)

Comment *

Northern Ireland's Outdoor Adventure Blog outdoorni.com walkni.com cycleni.com canoeni.com