Share the Road – Horses Paved the Way is the name of the annual event, which started six years ago in Palmer, Massachusetts. This year’s event takes place on June 10 and will include rides in several Western Massachusetts towns.
The goal of the Share the Road rides is to raise awareness of riders’ rights on public roadways. In Massachusetts, several state laws protect horses on the road and outline drivers’ responsibilities when encountering horses. According to the Share the Road Facebook page, these laws include:
- Chapter 84 Section 1 Towns shall keep highways and town ways in repair, safe for travelers, their horses, their vehicles…at all seasons.
- Chapter 90 Section 14 If a rider signals you to stop, stop, shut off your engine, and pass when safe to do so.
- Chapter 90 Section 17 Regardless of the speed limit, a driver shall decrease the speed when a special hazard exists with respect to pedestrians and other traffic (other traffic being horses or others legally riding).
Although some cities may restrict which streets horses are allowed on, many states do have laws protecting riders on the roads and requiring motorists to reduce their speed and give horses a wide berth when approaching. Because horses are a rare sight on most roads, many motorists don’t know about these laws, or simply may not have the horse knowledge to know what to do in an equine encounter.
“We have issues where we’re riding in the streets, even in rural towns, we have people speed by,” Share the Road organizer Jose Rubero told the Valley Advocate. “There have been incidents reported across the state of people getting hurt.”
With events like the ones taking place this weekend, riders hope to make more drivers aware of how to share the roads, legally and safely, with horses.
Find out more in Share the Road – Horses Paved the Way’s Facebook event.
Leslie Potter is a writer and photographer based in Lexington, Kentucky. www.lesliepotterphoto.com