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Rider from Gislingham condemns council for rejecting British Horse Society safety signs in Mill Street Lane, used as cut-through between Bury St Edmunds A143 and Eye A140

A disappointed rider has condemned the county council for turning down her request for new signs to stop motorists speeding past horses.

Carla Calver, from Gislingham, wrote to Suffolk County Council to ask if British Horse Society (BHS) signs could be used in Mill Street Lane in her home village.

She says motorists often fail to slow down for horses or even speed through the village.

British Horse Society warning sign
British Horse Society warning sign

But the council rejected the request, saying the signs, which are free, could confuse motorists.

“Drivers use the road as a cut-through between the Bury St Edmunds A143 and the Eye A140, so there can be quite a lot of traffic,” said Carla.

“Villagers themselves are very good but we also get cut-through traffic, motorists using GPS, or delivery drivers, who fail to slow down.

British Horse Society warning sign
British Horse Society warning sign

“The speed limit is 30mph, which is still too fast to pass a horse – and some motorists have even said that they can’t drive any slower than that.”

The BHS signs advise drivers to pass horses at no more than 10mph and at two metres’ distance.

Carla said: “I thought they would be a good way to educate drivers as we have had a couple of near-misses recently.

“The signs are all over the country and have been for years, so it’s very disappointing.”

Suffolk County Council needs to give permission and install the signs.

A spokesman said: “The information on this poster directly conflicts with the speed limit sign in this location and could distract or confuse drivers.

“We welcome working with the British Horse Society in other ways, such as social media to promote the importance of safer driving around horses.”

The spokesman added: “Suffolk County Council does not currently have any central budget to install and maintain any additional signs.

“But it leads a project called Quiet Lanes Suffolk, a county-wide project supported by our Suffolk 2020 fund. Quiet Lanes encourage the use of more active forms of travel, such as walking, cycling and horse-riding.”

BHS director of safety Alan Hiscox said: “These information posters can be funded by the BHS.

“There are several different types of posters available, which can be selected by the highway authority to fit the needs of the local area.

“We have developed many successful partnerships with local authorities across the country and this initiative has successfully highlighted potential road safety issues faced by equestrians.

“We would welcome a conversation with the council about how we can work together to improve safety for horses and riders on Suffolk’s roads.”

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