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Horse Sense Urged on the Road
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Horse Sense Urged on the Road

The death of a horse named Kaban sparked the movement to spread awareness of horse riding safety on Tasmanian roads. Kelly Parker and her horse Kaban were struck by a vehicle while riding on a rural road, where the horse suffered a broken back and had to be put down immediately at the scene. The accident left her bruised, battered and traumatized. According to Parker, the majority of the drivers lack knowledge of proper driving while being confronted with a horse on the road.

The Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources (DIER) did not mention about horses in its 2012 digital booklet of road rules posted on their website. According to the complete Road Rules Act implemented in other states, the horse and its rider are considered the same as any other slow-moving vehicle. In addition to that, if the horse becomes restless due to an approaching car, the rider of the horse should signal the driver to stop until it is safe again to proceed. However, this rule is not included in the road rules handbook that most people refer to when learning to drive. It was included only as a guide and was not featured on the road rules handbook.

Hence, Kentish Council made an effort to produce a three-page pamphlet, with detailed instruction on how one should react to horse riders on the road. They also installed warning signs in known horse-riding areas. Kentish Councillor Penny Lane said that they are aiming for the said practice to be state-wide and be implemented in other areas of Tasmania, to avoid future misdemeanour like the one Parker experienced.

According to Councillor Penny Lane, local councils don’t have to scratch their head for the successful implementation of the said practice as they have already done the background work, and are willing to share the information. Anyone interested in the cause may collect pamphlets, available on TT-Line ships and select stores in the area.

DIER corporate affairs manager Suzie Jacobson said the department acknowledges the legal right of the horse and all other commuters to be on the road. She requested the public to adhere to road safety rules and drive with care and attention.

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