LOCAL horse riders are calling for drivers to be more vigilant and aware after a spate of near misses and incidents in the Three Towns.

The group of riders, who all keep their horses within Kerelaw Road in Stevenston, are eager to get their voice across and let drivers know that they could cause an accident without realising it.

Danielle Scott, one of the riders, told the Herald: “Recently we are finding our road to be getting only more and more dangerous.

“Only yesterday I personally had a near miss with a young male driver exceeding the speed limit and sounding his horn around the blind bends, he wasn’t able to see us until the last second and had to emergency stop - this incident was caught on camera.

“Only two months ago I was also run off the road by an aggressive driver who was waiting until my horse was in the middle of the road before driving into us. Fortunately no one was injured but the police could do nothing due to lack of evidence. Others have been experiencing abusive comments from road rage drivers with comments such as “get yourself in a f*****g field” and threatening us to get off the road.”

There is around 50 horses in the vicinity of Kerelaw Road and the riders are hopeful that some awareness will make drivers think twice before acting aggressively or driving at speed.

Danielle added: “It is recommended by the BHS that the only safe way to pass a horse is at 15mph with a wide berth of no more than two metres.

“Though horses are the majority of the time under control they are still an animal with a mind of its own and can be easily spooked or startled by silly things such as a bird or plastic bag, these spooks have been recording at a speed of 50 mph.

“So a half-tonne animal hitting into a car at 50 mph will do as much damage or fatality to a car as it will to the horse yet people seem to not understand this and still speed along country roads.”

Inspector Brian Skimming of North Ayrshire Police said: “Police Scotland have Road Safety and influencing driver behaviour as a high priority in our work with rural and urban communities.

“In this respect I would ask that all road users show consideration and attention at all times when approaching horses and be particularly aware of the possibility of their presence in unclassified or country roads. Horse and rider should be passed at low speed and in such a way that the animal is not startled and cause the potential risk of injury to both horse and rider.

“On passing by, space that would be appropriate in breadth to the overtaking of a car should be afforded in the same way to the horse. Drivers should also be aware that driving without due care and consideration in such circumstances may lead to reporting to the PF and potential prosecution and endorsement of Drivers Licence.”