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Horse Rider Safety on the Roads

posted Jun 15, 2011, 4:58 PM by Vivien Dostine   [ updated Mar 18, 2014, 6:31 PM by Viv Dostine ]
As part of my feedback into the Auckland Spatial plan, I put some research into the current laws and bylaws around horse riding on roads and berms, and also into how the Council can create paths and trails that allow horse riders alongside cycles and walkers.

The sad fact is that New Zealand's laws, and bylaws are very anti-horse (and rider). 
  • Current laws disregard horse rider safety on road sides, 
  • The current legislation is very unclear about whether horse riders can ride on a berm or not, because they use the terms 'road margin' , and refer to areas as uncultivated or 'lawn'.  Yet Councils do not permit landowners to plant lawns or gardens on Council owned roads (berms)
  • Council by-laws usually favour nice looking lawns, instead of rider safety when it comes to riding on berms (and seem to be at odds with NZ Transport laws)
  • There is no way for a Council to form an unformed road into a path for non-motorised transport only.  Horse riders are excluded
  • There is no definitiion or provision for bridlepaths, or non-motorised transport paths (including horses), and the definition for shared trails does not include horses - meaning if a council did create a bridleway\bridlepath then horses would not be allowed on it!
I intend to lobby Councils, NZ Local Government and Central Government to have this put right.  We are currently out of step with Australia and the UK where transport laws include horse riders in safety legislation.