The Horse Forum banner

Passing a Horse on a Motorcycle

2746 10
What real-world advice would riders give to motorcyclists about the correct speed to pass a horse being ridden on the road, both from behind and approaching from the front?

Motorcycle position, to me at least seems obvious (the absolute maximum distance possible), but speed, gear and approach less so. Also am I right to assume that horses are far more likely to be spooked by a motorcyclist (probably wearing a high-vis vest) then a car?

On a narrow road I'd suggest that simply stopping the motorcycle and letting the horse walk past, or staying a good distance behind the horse indefinitely if necessary is the only sensible and realistic action, but what about wider roads? Sure, there are lots of factors to take into account but what rules of thumb would you recommend and what would you say makes a good motorcyclist from a rider's point of view?
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 11 of 11 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
1,139 Posts
As someone who knows quite a few motorcycle riders, I think it is unreasonable to expect them to stop unless the horse is showing signs of distress. I would suggest to them to slow to a speed where they can easily stop should something happen (the horse jump out in front of them, for example), and keep revving to a minimum.

Personally, my horses seem to find cars more scary than motorcycles (though I discovered recently that cyclists are the absolute scariest, because they make no noise!), but motorcycles do tend to make more noise. It also depends on the type of motorcycles - we usually encounter dirt bikes and the riders are typically courteous enough to slow to a 'crawl'.

Basically, they should aim to be as quiet as possible, and to slow to a reasonable speed, and to watch for signals from the horse rider in case they need you to stop. The area where I (and many others) ride is a 80kph/50mph to 100kph/60mph zone, and I tend to find that slowing to about 40kmh/25mph is usually sufficient.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
5,662 Posts
I'd say pass slow and wide, don't rev the engine. Honestly, I've had more problems with stealthy joggers coming up behind me then motorcycles!! P

On the other hand riders who ride on the road have a responsibility to make sure there horse is suitable for the job.
Posted via Mobile Device
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,285 Posts
Ironically I've found that horses are much more afraid of bicycles than motorcycles and that's because they are very silent and they seem (to the horse) to pop up out of nowhere suddenly. If a bicyclist is polite enough (and that's rare) I will say hi and ask them to speak to the horse so he realizes that there is a human being there (and the same way with hikers especially with those big backpacks!).

You have to realize that not every horse you come across will be freaked out by a motorcycle but it doesn't hurt to treat them all as if they have never seen one. Pass slowly, give them as much space as you can and keep your RPMs to the lowest level possible. Some horse are old hands at noisy vehicles and strange sights but others are still in training or naturally spooky so if you make an effort to be polite, you are actually helping the rider desensitize and train the horse. With enough exposure, most horses can get used to anything-it's the getting to that point that can be dangerous!

Funny thing is that motorcycle riders seem to be much more polite and careful than people in cars. Drivers don't seem to realized that if you scare a horse badly enough, they might just end up with a 1000lb animal coming through their windshield! That's why I always carry a bright orange whip about 4-5' long and hold it slightly out and over the road. Drivers will move over usually because they think their car will be scratched.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
13,053 Posts
I have done a lot of road riding and passed many a-motorcycle:)

Have enough reasonable speed to put yourclutch in and let the bike coast past. Idling noise is much less intrusive to a horse.

It would be great if you could also get in the other lane, if you are riding with the horse. That almost always isn't possible so putting the clutch in does the most good:)

If you are on a narrow mountain road or a Deliverance road like I live on, , stopping is good. Don't have to shut the bike off.

My neighbor raises/trains Spotted Saddle Horses. He also rides a Harley, as does his adult son. They use the bike for training. They won't stop but will idle way down and throw the clutch in:)

And a big thank you for asking!:loveshower:
 

· Registered
Joined
·
9,562 Posts
I like when people slow down, don't rev the engine, give space when possible, but move passed us in a business-like way. I don't like when people in any vehicle get nervous and start to creep behind us going 5 mph and take forever to pass (or even refuse to pass). The horse knows something's lurking back there and then I get nervous about what the driver is doing.

I ride a road with a thin shoulder and steeper ditches, so I often don't have the option to "pull over" and have my horse stop, so we hug the shoulder while walking, and I usually wave the driver around us. If I can stop, I do.

As boots said above, thank you for being considerate. I am fortunate to ride on a road where most drivers in any type of vehicle are also considerate, and it makes it a safe experience for everyone.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
5,928 Posts
How considerate of you! Thanks! :) I wish some of the brutes that have scared my boy badly in the past would have thought of this before!

I've found this video to be a helpful guide for ATV drivers, and it applies to motorcycle drivers as well:


And here's one for MTB riders :)

 
  • Like
Reactions: Tracer

· Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you everyone

Thank you everybody, some really good advice and angles I had just never considered before (I'm a a cyclist too, so I found the videos and talking to the horse aspect most interesting). Looking at this from a rider's viewpoint has certainly educated me, and I hope to be able to put all your advice into good practice ... I think my own summary will be "Low revs, steady & slow but business like; Be aware of the horse and rider and be prepared to stop" - Take care and enjoy your riding everyone :)
 

· Registered
Joined
·
433 Posts
I ride a road with a thin shoulder and steeper ditches, so I often don't have the option to "pull over" and have my horse stop, so we hug the shoulder while walking, and I usually wave the driver around us. If I can stop, I do.
I would say if you're on narrow roads a driver looking to overtake is at a disadvantage as they are behind you and generally are going to be much lower down; so they can't see ahead as far as you can, especially around corners. Country roads being what they are can be narrow and full of corners so I can certainly see why a driver would be reluctant to overtake even if you're giving hand signals; indeed my driving instructor taught me to generally ignore hand signals waving me around a vehicle if I can't also see the road clearly ahead myself. Since generally that just means trailing a bike around a corner till it opens out its not normally a huge problem and avoids the issue of the person waving on being more keen to lose the car behind them than maybe considering what's potentially in front of them that they might not be able to see either.

So I'd say if you want a car to overtake the best thing is to stop the horse. Even if you've not got a lay-by to move into; if there's room for the car to go past then you want to stop and wave on. It not only gives the drive incentive to move past you, but also gives you a moment to clearly check what's ahead.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
433 Posts
To add to the above - because I forgot to mention it and can't edit it in now - if you're going to stop with a car behind you on a narrow road do at least try to slow down and then give a hand signal to tell the car to hold back/stop. Since you're unlikely to stop dead there's a chance the car could keep coming and come up right behind you since without hand signals the driver won't expect you to stop.

Let them clearly know things are stopping and then wave them on - of course this depends on the driver as well; some will hold back a lot further so you won't need to tell them to stop; whilst others will push right up. Ideally everything should keep moving, but if things have to stop they should.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top