VIDEO: ‘Slow down on horse-riding route’

There have been calls for a reduction in the speed limit along a rural road in the borough after a woman was injured in a fall from a horse.

Grace Hedgley was on a riding lesson in the paddock at Dalways Bawn Livery Stables in January when a passing motorbike allegedly ‘revved’ and scared the animal, causing it to bolt.

Tim Hedgley pictured alongside one of the signs urging drivers to slow down.  INCT 32-722-CON

Tim Hedgley pictured alongside one of the signs urging drivers to slow down. INCT 32-722-CON

Mrs Hedgley fell from the horse, sustaining a broken hip and three broken ribs. “I had to have a pin put in my hip; I’m still on painkillers and receiving physiotherapy,” she said.

Speaking to the Times this week, Mrs Hedgley’s husband Tim made a call for action along the route. “The DoE gave planning permission for a stables to be placed there, so allowances should be made for the fact that there will be people on horses close to the road. If there was a school there, it would be down to 30mph,” he said. “There are signs to warn people that it’s a horse-riding route, but people just ignore them. Something needs to be done about this road; my wife could have been killed.”

Suggesting a temporary reduction in speed for a trial period, Grace added: “This is not your average road; it’s very narrow beside [Dalways Bawn] and there’s a sharp bend before you come to the bridge.”

Indicating that horses at the yard are trained to tolerate normal traffic, stable owner Jenny Caldwell said: “I am totally disgusted by the blasé attitude demonstrated by the local authorities in relation to the obvious problem of dangerous driving on [the road]. We rarely now take horses on the road because of these idiots and their driving - we use the local hacking trail instead. This is affecting us when our horses are ‘safely’ riding round in our schooling arena, several metres away from the road!

“We have campaigned for a reduction in the speed limit on this road for over six months with huge support from horse riders, visiting instructors, dog walkers, and parents of clients and we all feel that to wait until there is an accident - of any severity - is just not on.”

In a statement, Transport NI (formerly Roads Service) said a review of the speed limit was undertaken on the route earlier this year.

“Given the lack of development, and the mean speed of the existing traffic at this location is 40mph we have no further plans to alter the current speed limit at this time,” the statement added. “Speed limits are not used in an attempt to solve the problem of an isolated hazard which can be addressed in other ways such as additional signage, nor should they be set inappropriately low as such limits are ineffective and lead to general disrespect for speed limits.”