Sunday, June 15, 2008

Horses have the right-of-way!

Caution: Horseback ridingI didn't mention it earlier, but as Susie and I were returning from our trail ride today, something happened that really angered me.

We were waiting to cross the street on our way back to the barn. Susie was still riding, but I had dismounted; I haven't attempted to ride Panama across the street since I fell off the first time. We were waiting for a car to pass, but instead the car stopped to let us cross.

Most cars don't do this, so we waved gratefully and started across. As we crossed the road, a couple more cars had to slow down and stop behind the first car. Once we were across, we heard the guy in the last car call out rudely and rather condescendingly, "Not smart, ladies!" as he drove away.

Susie turned to me in disbelief and said, "What else could we have done?"

And she's right. We have two ways to cross the road — walk right across, like we did today, or take the bike path under the road and walk back up the road 50 feet on the sidewalk. Neither option is ideal, naturally, but nor is either one illegal.

Also, there are signs "Caution — horseback riding" signs posted everywhere. Those signs are there for a reason — just like a "Caution — deer" sign means you need to stop for any deer in the road, a "Caution — horseback riding" sign means you need to stop for any horses in the road.

Horses have the right-of-way. This means that whether you are driving a car or riding your bicycle, it is your responsibility to avoid running into the horse. Most horseback riders are going to stop and wait for a break in traffic, partially out of politeness and partially from a desire to not get run over, but still — if you are driving down the road and someone is crossing on a horse, you are expected to yield to them.



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