Horse and rider safety on the United Kingdom (UK) road system: pilot evaluation of an alternative conspicuity measure

R M Scofield, H Savin, Hayley Randle

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review

Abstract

Previous studies have reported that the use of popular conspicuity equipment worn by riders does not necessarily lead to a safer environment. Recent research using questionnaire-based studies showed fluorescent (FR) equipment does not significantly reduce traffic-related near misses experienced by horse-rider combinations. However, wearing lights leads to significantly fewer near misses as does riding broken-coloured horses (piebald/skewbald).Transport laboratory based research reported drivers exhibit significantly faster reaction times in visual identification tests with FR colours than with dark colours, though when replicated in the live cycling/traffic environment it failed to reach significance. The objective of this study was to determine the effectiveness of two different conspicuity tabards (FR and PieBold - a black/white tabard mimicking the coat of a broken-coloured horse, PB) by comparing to a dark-coloured tabard (N). A visual identification test was designed incorporating three images of a horse-rider combination, each wearing three different tabards, N, FR and PB. An opportunistic sample of drivers was selected, 16 of whom had horse-riding experience. Drivers (n ¼ 23) were shown the images in sequence and asked to start and then stop the timer to indicate immediately when they saw the image. Wilcoxon tests indicated that there was no significant difference between reaction times with FR and PB(T23 ¼ 187.0, P > 0.05), however there was a significant difference between PB and N (T23 ¼ 0.0, P < 0.001) and FR and N (T23 ¼ 0.0, P <0.001). These results indicate drivers have a quicker reaction time when presented with a horse-rider combination wearing PB and FR than when compared with N.

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