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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Our road is pretty far out in the country so there isn't a whole lot of traffic... I was just wondering what side of the road is legal to ride on and how far off the road I have to be???


Thanks :)
 

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I ride on the road a LOT, especially when the bears get bad up the mountain and on the trails. I haven't got any quiet back roads to ride on, so I find myself riding on the highways along the side of the road.
Good thing Pro isn't at all bothered by the traffic.

Usually I ride so we can see the traffic coming, however if the other side of the road has a larger amount of space I sometimes switch so I have more room.

Sometimes people can be REALLY rude... I've been riding with friends and my instructor and have had people make there trucks go really loud and fast, others have throws things out the window or shouted out, etc. to scare the horses. And the semi drivers that fly by are really bad as well.

A lady who I rode with before said some people in a truck threw a firecracker out the window at them.:shock::evil:

It's at the point where sometimes we have to go on the road to MAKE the cars slow down. Everyone who has to ride on the bridges here will go straight down the center, or else cars will come onto the bridge with the horses:shock:. Once we even had a cop behind us as we were doing this and he never said a thing.

Not Fun. But it's better than not riding at all.

I have NEVER been told not to ride on the roads or to move to the correct side, and we have even been up town on the horses. I just kinda do my own thing and if everyone on the road is being respectable I will be as well.

I wouldn't worry about riding on back roads too much though. I'm interested to hear what the actual rules are though!
 

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You should check your local/state laws, but in NC you have a right to ride on any public road, and you should ride with traffic (just like a bicycle). We ride down the middle of the lane (at the recommendation of the NC DOT) because it forces cars to slow down and pass rather than just zipping by. Around her, most drivers are very courteous, but you do need to watch out for the inconsiderate ones.
 

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I checked in Ontario and there doesn't appear to be any law at all about it here. My preference is to ride facing traffic. Most of the people here ride on the right side of the road. Their reasoning is that is the side that carts have to be one. Well, my reasonings are: 1. I want to see what's coming and 2. foot traffic (pedestrians) by law are to be on the left.

I'm right -- they're wrong. Is it ever any other way? LOL!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thanks for the advice :) I'll try to check and see what our local laws are... I've seen people ride on our rode before and the seemed to prefer the right... btu I still wasn't sure... it makes more sense to ride facing the cars...
 

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Over here in the UK, unless you live right out in the middle of nowhere, you have no choice - we pretty much always have to ride on the roads. There are tracks for horses but you still have to ride on the roads to get to them.

In the Uk you are treated as just another vehicle. You travel in the same direction as the traffic and there are laws which tell drivers to pass with care, slow and wide. This doesn't always work! I was out riding 2 years ago on a narrow road. A truck came up behind me so I pulled over to let him pass but he got way too close and caught my horse on her hind quarters causing a really bad injury. Fortunately she recovered in time and I was unhurt. I took him to court and won but I really get nervous on the roads now. Most drivers are great but there's always some idiot who thinks it's fine to scare horses!
 

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Let me add that if you feel more comfortable riding off the pavement on the side of the road, you generally have that right also. Most roads (at least in the US) have at least a 10 foot public right of way on the private land on each side where you find telephone/electric poles, street signs, buried utilities, ditches, etc.
 

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I ride on the road. I live by a 4 way stop, so we have to cross it. The people in my area are usually very respectful a horse crossing the road. Only once did someone yell out there window "Horses aren't allowed on the highway." Just because they had to slow down. o_O
 

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I'm subscribing. Good thread. I'm in Canada and loathe riding on roads, but where I keep my boy has very nice pasture but no arena so I have to ride down a lovely back road (gravel) which I like, but then cross a four-way and go about a 100 ft to use a neighbouring arena. I detest riding on cement. But thought I'd include a small pic of my windy gravel road I have to travel (winter photo-it's now all green and beautiful). I had to walk my gelding down the road first (hence walking photo) to feel safe (me, not him necessarily as I have to ride alone).:wink:
 

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If you are ON the road, you are considered a vehicle in pretty much any place, UK, US or AU. So you must follow the road rules as if you were a vehicle - and that includes riding on the side that you would drive a car on.

If you are riding on the shoulder/nature strip, and not on the actual road, then it is up to you. I prefer to ride on the side of on-coming traffic, so that the cars coming closest to me and my horse I can see without having to turn or anything, and my horse can see them coming too.

If you are leading your horse, you should be leading from the side closest to the road - you should be between your horse and the traffic. Even if this places you on the horse's off side, it is pretty important. The idea is that if the horse spooks, he will likely be running away from the car that spooks him, and since you are not on the other side of him, he isn't going to trample you.
 

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If you are ON the road, you are considered a vehicle in pretty much any place, UK, US or AU. So you must follow the road rules as if you were a vehicle - and that includes riding on the side that you would drive a car on.
In the US, please make sure that you check with your applicable local clerks (town/city/county) and state (Department of Transportation). In NC, state vehicle laws specifically mention that horses are not vehicles. For example, it is not against the law to ride (even on the road) while you are drunk.
I have spent years riding from the country areas into suburbs, residential, and retail areas, talked to every level of government, and understand how confusing this can be. Here are some (potentially) interesting points from my journeys in this area of NC...
- Horses are considered livestock. In the NC laws, you're not a vehicle or a pedestrian, i.e. there are definitions of what a horse back rider IS NOT, but there is no definition of what a horse back rider IS.
- Outside the agriculture and equine liability laws, there are few mentions of horses at all. Most rules are based on 'common law' (i.e. legal case history) and not statutes (written laws).
- Many of the equine related state laws are from 100 years ago when cars were new to the world and injuring or stealing a person's horse was depriving one of their transportation and/or method of earning a living (and hence a felony offense).
- The newer laws tend to be at the town/city level, especially in areas where development is pushing into the countryside. For example, many towns prohibit horse riders (like bicycles and skateboards) from the sidewalks and parks. Some towns now have horse rider helmet laws for minors.
- Law enforcement folks (police/sheriff) typically are unfamiliar with the laws. Dealing with horse/riders is just not something that comes up very often.
- In NC, there is no requirement to clean up if your horse 'soils' the road, even in residential areas (town/city laws may apply). This has come up a number of times in my area where the suburban type developments are pushing outward (we are not in a town/city, and I've made a number of 'city folk transplants' very upset).

The bottom line is that after researching your applicable laws, using 'common sense' (i.e. what a reasonable person would do) is your best bet, and being extremely cautious is a must.

I love to ride the roads and be able to ride from/to anywhere I choose, and I know many other people do too.

Be careful and safe, good luck, and enjoy your riding where ever that may take you.
 

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Here in Maine we ride on the roads all the time. While we are not allowed to ride on the highway, any other state road (like Rt 9) is free game, as are town roads. We ride on the side on the road going with traffic. In my county, it's actually the law that vehicles passing a horse on the road have to slow down or stop until they are waved forward by the rider/driver (carriages etc.) Sometimes you get people who are complete jerks about it and fly by you anyways, usually young kids, so if we notice a car is about to not slow down, we ride in the middle of the road.
 

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If you are ON the road, you are considered a vehicle in pretty much any place, UK, US or AU. So you must follow the road rules as if you were a vehicle - and that includes riding on the side that you would drive a car on.
I wouldn't count on that. The laws for this type of thing are usually provincial or state legislated in North America. I don't know what it is in UK or AU. Best bet is to find out for sure.

I was out with someone very experienced on the weekend and he asked us to ride on the right side (with traffic). I asked his reasoning for that, and he said that a horse is a natural flight animal, so he would rather that if the animal spooks, it is easier to move it directionally with the vehicle coming from the rear. I understand his reasoning, but I know that for the whole 5 hours that we were out there, I was in the rear and I was constantly looking over my shoulder for vehicles. Many vehicles you hear before you see them on back roads, but I have often been surprised myself by a few very quiet cars. And what about those hybrids? They are ultra quiet.
 

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I love it:
" In NC, there is no requirement to clean up if your horse 'soils' the road, even in residential areas (town/city laws may apply). This has come up a number of times in my area where the suburban type developments are pushing outward (we are not in a town/city, and I've made a number of 'city folk transplants' very upset)."

If they get upset tell them (in a serious tone) to calm down. That there's no charge for the high grade furtilizer. You're a good neighbor and letting them have it for free, but they'll have to spread it themself.

It's not as if you're littering. It washes away in the rain and breaks down naturally if it doesn't rain. And if you're riding at the time it's spreads out naturally. Better than the piles my dog would leave :))

In SC we cannot ride on the Interstate, but that's about the limit. I've ridden to town on a US Hwy (over 30 miles round trip), but most of it was on the shoulder. We have some laws about riding horse on the hwy that are pretty old (before 1940). All are worded to protect the horse and rider who are deemed to have the right of way.
 
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I'm forced to ride on the road if I want to leave the stable property but I hate it. usually ride facing traffic unless there is a wider verge on the other side of the road. I could say a few words about South Lanarkshire drivers which would probably be illegal on the forum, but my horse and I have perfected the dive-into-bushes/ditches/embankment maneuver. If that were on a dressage test, we'd get a 9.

US roads have nice, friendly wide shoulders. UK roads don't. The first place I lived in the UK was Co. Durham and the stables were on the A68 (a "state highway" type road for you USians). To go anywhere, you had to ride down this with trucks and buses and other traffic flying past at 60-70mph with no intention of slowing down, as this is one of the main routes between the north of England and Scotland and people have Things To Do. I gave up trail riding the year I was at that barn as I can only take so many buses and lorries brushing past me at speed before I'm a shaking, nervous wreck. I was from a place where we had over 90 acres of mountain trails to explore. I was not impressed.

The UK driving test even has questions about what the correct response is when you see a horse and rider. Doesn't stop drivers from being asshats.
 

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I used to love riding on roads (back where I used to live, we used to take the horses through the tim hortons drive throughs to get coffee :)).
Unfortunately, we're not allowed to ride on the roads down here- we can cross them, but can't ride alongside which is a bummer.
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I wouldnt see any problem why you wouldnt be able to ride on the public road I've seen that horse riders are always to the right side when riding on public roads.hope this helps out Good Luck
 
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