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bike vs. horse etiquette on the road

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

bike vs. horse etiquette on the road

Old 10-20-13, 01:07 PM
  #26  
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Also, how did the horse react when you passed it? Did it freak out?
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Old 10-20-13, 01:12 PM
  #27  
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I occasionally encounter Amish buggies when riding. When approaching from behind, I call out to the driver so that the horse will know that it's a human being approaching. It's never a good idea to sneak up on a big animal--regardless of who you think may or may not have the right of way.
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Old 10-20-13, 02:45 PM
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I ride both and can tell you many people ride hoarse where they should not. IIt'sabout the horse. Some simply should not be ridden. People think it's normal for horses to "spook" as they are prey animals. IT IS NOT. Not all of them are so nervous and some just shouldn't be ridden in uncontrolled environments. You voice yelling from behind would probably have spooked it too:-(
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Old 10-20-13, 03:26 PM
  #29  
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Horses are sweet animals-but easily spooked.
Riders on the other hand-some not so sweet.
If the rider was polite-not whiny or female doggy-then she wasn't out of line.

Yeah I would do it for the horse-have no problem with horses-other they they are HUGE and could stomp me
Mules- even HUGER-rode one down grand canyon once -seemd good natured enough- but it was BIG and WIDE- I would certainly give a mule the right of way!
Felt like a candy ass riding an animal when I could easily have walked-wife's idea......so I did it!

Horses remind me of our greyhounds-sweet but easily spooked.
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Old 10-20-13, 04:04 PM
  #30  
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nope no reaction that I could tell although perhaps it was slightly tensed up? I know squat about horses tho. Certainly no bucking and such.
Originally Posted by 1748357 View Post
Also, how did the horse react when you passed it? Did it freak out?
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Old 10-20-13, 04:11 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by MegaTom View Post
They were facing each other and the horse/rider were well off the road according to the OP. How do you announce for that in any meaningful way when they can already see you coming, and there's already good distance between bike and beast?
Guess I missed that in the original post. In that situation I guess I would have assumed she saw me and just slowed down and passed as far away as possible.
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Old 10-20-13, 04:19 PM
  #32  
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We have horses and sometimes ride on the quiet roads in our neighborhood. There is a big difference between the expected/reasonable behavior of others on the road versus a multi-use trail; if you're riding a horse near a road drivers and cyclists should have a reasonable expectation that the horse is used to traffic and can be easily controlled by the rider. We have had experiences where a trailer rattled by at speed with a loosely tied-down piece of equipment. A considerate driver in this situation would normally slow down if they have any familiarity with horses.

On multi-use trails you'll find horses of all ages/maturity/disposition and cyclists are well advised to yield. Most cyclists are extremely considerate and we'll tell them to go right ahead unless the trail is very narrow.

Getting back to the OP's specifics - that horse would have been aware of the OP as soon as he had line of sight. I don't see in that situation what the OP could have done differently.
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Old 10-20-13, 04:47 PM
  #33  
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I live in horse country, some of my neighbors have horses in their yards and I often see horses when riding, both on and off road. I stop for them on the dirt but if they are riding on the street with cars I have to figure they are in control. There is a huge difference in the way some people control the animal, some have total control and others don't seem to have a clue.
I've never had a real problem but some snooty woman ragged on me once just for being on a dirt road.
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Old 10-20-13, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by zvez View Post
nope no reaction that I could tell although perhaps it was slightly tensed up? I know squat about horses tho. Certainly no bucking and such.
Hmm, well it sounds to me (and of course I wasn't there) that maybe she said what she said because not all horses will react as well to a cyclist as hers.
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Old 10-20-13, 05:10 PM
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Horses are stupid
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Old 10-20-13, 05:28 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Worknomore View Post
I encounter a lot of horse riders in my back road rambles. If coming from behind I slow down to walking speed and let them know I'm there. They will usually motion me to pass which I do so slowly. If approaching them I stop till they pass or signal me to pass. I have seen horses get spooked and rear up from passing bikes.
^this^

And if I approach a horse and rider coming from the opposite direction, i dismount and walk my bike. its a small courtesy and riders thank me for it.
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Old 10-20-13, 05:28 PM
  #37  
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it's increased my awareness of the horsed tho.


Originally Posted by 1748357 View Post
Hmm, well it sounds to me (and of course I wasn't there) that maybe she said what she said because not all horses will react as well to a cyclist as hers.
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Old 10-20-13, 05:30 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by pdedes View Post
Horses are stupid
^^This^^, they really are pretty dumb.
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Old 10-20-13, 05:37 PM
  #39  
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Does she expect a driver in a car to do the same ?. How about a Hells Angel on a Harley, with those "loud pipes that save lives" They'd tell her to go piss up a rope, after giving the finger.

If she takes a horse near or on a road, she had better be riding a horse that doesn't spook easily.

That said, in the animals experience it may have had numerous encounters with car's but little with bikes, but in this situation it's a public road with traffic, potentially of many different types. It's not a MUT or wooded trail where hiker/biker/horses are using the trails. In that scenario, you yield, on a public street I wouldn't and I wouldn't feel obligated to announce my presence.
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Old 10-20-13, 06:19 PM
  #40  
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I don't see many horses here in Taiwan but I used to see them when I lived elsewhere.

If I encounted a horse on a trail or small road I always flicked my shift lever and watched the horses ears. If they spun towards me I knew they were aware of my presence. I would slow down to a crawl and if I saw even the slightest twitch from the horse I would stop and wait for the horse to pass.

On a wider road I would do the same thing but swing way wide of the horse, as in the other side of the road, and continue.

I never had a problem but I may have been lucky and encountered only riders who knew how to control their animals.
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Old 10-20-13, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by garciawork View Post
In my area, the horse people think they own every road and trail, so short of staying inside and miles away, there is no way to make them happy. I just slow down and ride as far around wherever they are as possible. If the animal can't handle that... maybe it shouldn't be on a road... My wife used to ride horses, and in her opinion it is very irresponsible for horse people to get upset that you spooked their horse if you acted reasonably, they shouldn't have the horse out in public like that.
+1

I've come across several people riding horses and try to give them ample room and not make any sudden movement that could startle the horse. But, I'm also of the opinion that a horse should be properly trained to handle expected events if they are ridden on the roadway.
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Old 10-20-13, 07:53 PM
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Actually horses learn about 7 times faster than humans. They are very intelligent animals.
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Old 10-21-13, 01:30 AM
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Originally Posted by 99Klein View Post
Actually horses learn about 7 times faster than humans. They are very intelligent animals.
Pfft.
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Old 10-21-13, 03:28 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by zvez View Post
Still very new to riding. This morning on one of the back country roads I ride around 930, no traffic no people. Come around a gentle sweeper and see a woman on a horse she's off the road on the right side by ten to twenty feet, she's a hundred feet away facing me. As I pass her (only probably riding at 15mph). She asks me in the future to warn horse riders when you're approaching.

Not sure what I could do short of singing merrily on my entire ride to let a potential horseback rider know a bike is near. Am I missing something, think she's way off base. Had she been riding facing away from me I certainly would've spoken up, but since we laid eyes on each other the same time?
She's absolutely right. And yes, singing might work, but you can call out "Hello! Hello! Good Morning!" or whatever too ... from some distance away.

If you're coming up from behind, start talking quite some distance back, not right next to the horse.
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Old 10-21-13, 03:30 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by Worknomore View Post
I encounter a lot of horse riders in my back road rambles. If coming from behind I slow down to walking speed and let them know I'm there. They will usually motion me to pass which I do so slowly. If approaching them I stop till they pass or signal me to pass. I have seen horses get spooked and rear up from passing bikes.
+1
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Old 10-21-13, 03:32 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
She is Off base as your bike will spoke the horse before you can say anything.
We came up behind this one and it Spoked.


The rider could not control it.
It went up the side of the grey house before it stopped.
Precisely why the rider the OP encountered was right ... and why a cyclist needs to announce him/herself some distance away from the horse. Call out as soon as you see the horse, keep talking as you approach the horse, and as mentioned above, slow down and wait for the rider to motion you past.
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Old 10-21-13, 03:34 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by RaleighSport View Post
Did you ask her if she also yells at cars?
Originally Posted by Rootman View Post
I wonder what she would expect motorcycles or cars to do for a warning? Honk the horn? I was specifically taught NOT to do this when passing a horse as it could upset them pretty badly.
Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Does she expect a driver in a car to do the same ?. How about a Hells Angel on a Harley, with those "loud pipes that save lives" They'd tell her to go piss up a rope, after giving the finger.

Cars and motorcycles make enough noise so that the horse can hear them from some distance away. Bicycles are quiet.

Last edited by Machka; 10-21-13 at 03:40 AM.
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Old 10-21-13, 04:41 AM
  #48  
ursle
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I hope this thread teaches some riders that horses have right of way, every time, every where.

Wow, the pictures of the horse galloping over to a house and the picture taker thought they weren't at fault(unless I misunderstood)? The horse lives by it's ability to hear, and it heard something that scared the life out of it.
Horses have the right of way, this rather reminds me of the way most cyclist's just ignore stop signs and stop light's.

Anyway, love to horse camp at Acadia, a park in Maine, few horse campers, lot's of bike's, beautiful carriage roads, I noticed a lot of MT bikers were buzzing me, they thought it funny (I'm on a horse) so I started actively keeping bikes(they were easy to spot, most were polite) from buzzing, horses go sideways and do 180's rather quickly, nobody tried it twice, you got no respect you get no respect.

And then there was the time I was with a group of three other horses, we were going up a slight rise, beautiful carriage road and at the crest, a slight turn, we were all at a slow gallop and a group of bikes just appeared, the horses banded and the bikes went in the bushes, it was no ones fault, no one was injured or bruised, everyone's eye's were wide open. I was the only one laughing
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Old 10-21-13, 04:55 AM
  #49  
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Just my experience from a half dozen horse encounters:

Horses are stinking fast, and the sideways moves or turns they can do in a road will astound you.

When a horse targets and tracks you with its back legs, it is scary. I do not want to be kicked.

The shout out when you approach is for the rider more than the horse. The horse heard you long before, the rider has no clue why his horse is acting differently, and has no idea (or limited idea) what to do.

Not all horse riders are created equal, and some are barely in control of their animal. I have been motioned by by the rider, after calling out well in advance. The rider chided me for calling out, saying it was unnecessary, then lost control of his horse when he went by. I have overtaken a horse, called out in advance, crossed to the opposite shoulder (so two lanes between horse and I), and the rider was unable to prevent the horse from crossing both lanes and lining up a kick. And somehow that was my fault.
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Old 10-21-13, 05:35 AM
  #50  
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I had no idea that horses were that sensitive. I used to ride around them not knowing that there were supposed to be specific etiquette.
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