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spinoff: road work and traffic

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  • spinoff: road work and traffic

    In the road/tendon thread Riderboy mentioned the kill zone. We bought our farm partly for its proximity to conservation land - which is a hilly 10 min walk on the roads. The road is bendy, 2 lanes, has no real shoulder, and the speed limit is 25. How I wish I rode with a radar gun.

    My horses are "road safe" in the sense that they're acclimated to motorized stuff - but it's Murphy's Law of riding on the road - there is one, I swear to you - the really noisy giant diesel trash truck always wants to pass by you when the little roadster is speeding like hell the other way, swerving around the 5 oncoming road bikes.

    In Murphy moments I revert to a near-catatonic litany of "you'll be fine, relax, none of this eats ponies, you're fine...," the clear intent of which is to keep *me* from freezing up into a little riding clutch machine that will be the actual spook trigger. Because one unluckily timed fast move, and - very bad.

    It wasn't until I studied for my instructor's license exam in MA that I realized there are actually laws governing the behavior of car drivers in horse traffic. The quizzing of which, if you ask me, appears on the wrong test entirely.

    Do you have problems with cars coming way too fast when you're riding on the road? What do you do about it?
    Talk to the Hoof

  • #2
    In Massachusetts, I only rode on the littlest back roads I could find, but your described situation often came up. I would ride with my dogs, right down the middle of the road. Often I wore an orange vest. Always I waved my arm in a SLOW DOWN sort of way. Sometimes they would actually slow down and wait for me to signal they could pass, WHICH IS THE LAW. Other times, they'd honk or swerve around me. Then I'd shout SLOW DOWN!! One time the person actually stopped, rolled down the window and started yelling at me. I calmly stated the LAW and she drove off in a huff.

    Now that we live in Maine, I stay off the roads at all cost. People here think animals of all sorts should be run over. They actually go out of their ways to hit small mammals and like to see how close they can get to horses.
    Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.


    • #3
      I want to get a little flag to drop down from my whip like in funny silent movies. Except instead of saying "bang" it would say "SLOW THE F%*# DOWN"

      Haven't done it yet.


      • #4
        Several times I've thought about packing eggs.

        Of course that would probably backfire horribly, plus it's just wrong, so I don't.

        But I want to.


        • #5
          Originally posted by RiverBendPol View Post
          In Massachusetts, I only rode on the littlest back roads I could find, but your described situation often came up. I would ride with my dogs, right down the middle of the road. Often I wore an orange vest. Always I waved my arm in a SLOW DOWN sort of way. Sometimes they would actually slow down and wait for me to signal they could pass, WHICH IS THE LAW. Other times, they'd honk or swerve around me. Then I'd shout SLOW DOWN!! One time the person actually stopped, rolled down the window and started yelling at me. I calmly stated the LAW and she drove off in a huff.

          Now that we live in Maine, I stay off the roads at all cost. People here think animals of all sorts should be run over. They actually go out of their ways to hit small mammals and like to see how close they can get to horses.
          Have you checked the laws in Maine? I know the laws in MD are very different from Massachusettes, and DE and NJ - forget about it!

          I don't ride on the road at all. Regardless of laws, my mare currently lives near two quarries. All I need is one spook at the right time...


          • #6
            Originally posted by sch1star View Post
            Do you have problems with cars coming way too fast when you're riding on the road? What do you do about it?

            Take down their license plates...then make friends with your local police and let them know that you have a great way for them to make a lot of money for the district.

            But honestly...I've had the issue and now just don't ride on roads. I'll load my guys on the trailer and take them to paths were I might meet traffic on bikes but not cars/trucks.
            ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


            • #7
              It's odd around here. I live in a neighborhood with a lot of Amish population. The very strange thing is that I see people in vehicles (cars- logging trucks) RACING past Amish buggies and Amish riders at dangerous speeds and going rather close to them. However, the few times that I have ridden on the roads the drivers that I have run into slow down ALOT and are very polite. It's like they see a non-Amish with a helmet and "fancy" tack and whatnot and decide to be more polite.

              I still don't ride on the roads nearly ever... I just don't think it's safe. Deep ditches on either side of the roads and barbed wire fencing along the roads in a lot of places, etc. No shoulder.
              2016 RRP Makeover Competitor www.EnviousBid.com


              • #8
                1. Saturday and horse poops on public road no where near any mailboxes or driveways and home owner drives over with her husband and sends him marching across my field to tell me to go remove it immediately. Since I don't drive over "immediately" they drive back and forth and even park in front of my house.

                2. I see some joggers and ask them about the horse poop and they respond "well, you have to pick up after a dog".

                I ride on the road about 4 times/week and now with three schools open on our road within 2 miles, it is pretty risky. After school games are the worst with visiting kids/parents and with parents running late driving and talking on their cell phones....and not paying any attention to what is actually on the road.

                Two weeks ago a fire truck went by with siren going and 4 teenagers following in an open top jeep. They were standing up in the jeep and taking photos of me and my horse WITH CAMERA FLASHES!!!!

                ...so we are talking about moving...


                • #9
                  Yes, people drive way too fast, and don't move over enough - or at all. I stay very, very vigilant, am always looking behind me for cars coming, and scanning ahead for places to move over should there be cars coming both ways. I will stop in a driveway or way off the edge when I can if I know there's a big culvert or ditch or something coming up on my side and there's traffic coming. There are one or two spots that have poor visibility and either a long deep ditch or a guardrail, and for those I get out in the lane a bit and I trot. Fortunately that's not a high traffic area usually.

                  I also am very picky about the time and day that I ride. Usually about 10 am is good - worker bees are gone, and the kindergarten and grocery run hasn't started yet. I don't ride the roads at all on a Sat, and on Sundays only after church has stared, and I'm home before they let out if at all possible.

                  I wear a blaze orange vest even in the hottest weather, and I'm thinking about writing SLOW!! with a <------- arrow below it on the back.

                  I'm thinking about trying to get one or two of those yellow "Caution horses" signs put up on my main and busiest road, but I'm not sure where to start. Anyone know?


                  • #10
                    Barnfairy -- that is So funny! I have those egg fantasies, too!

                    I spend a lot of time on the roads. The speed limit is 30 and there are people who pass at 50+. Most do slow down and everyone gets a smile and a wave. The rest get a "slow down" signal with the arm and a "PLEASE slow down!" yell.

                    I have written down license plates and descriptions but never actually call them in. I'm afraid of starting a war.

                    My town actually posted speed limit signs and horse crossing signs when I asked them to. But they are ignored. I am considering spray painting my own signs to mount on the horse crossing sign that says "This sign means WHOA!" I think it might help for a while.

                    The biggest problem is that this area is old farm land being taken over by strip homes in developments. So it's a lot of new people who know nothing about animals.

                    It is amazing but they will whoosh past me and then slow way down for the lady with the stroller. Sorry but I think my horse is way more likely to jump out in front of them than her.


                    • #11
                      I try to time my rides (when possible) during the non 'rush-hour' times, but we live on a "35mph" road that has a gravel pit 2 miles in each direction, and we're on a hill. Soooo, gravel trucks & logging trucks go by @ every 10 mins, hitting their air - breaks (or releasing them, or whatever they do that makes so friggin' much noise) and it is sooo not pleasant. I can usually hear them coming, & try to trot up to the next lawn when I can get well out of the way before they come. Otherwise, no matter how relaxed I (try to be) am, my pony panics & bolts off the road away from the scary monsters. I've tried getting him on my aids & doing a shoulder-in or something to just occupy part of his brain when the monsters come, but that just makes him more explosive when he bolts off the road!
                      Anyway, there's nothing I can do to tell the trucks to shut the F*#$@ up when they go past, so I just try to avoid that whole situation! Other drivers are pretty good about slowing down and/or giving us room. Motorcyclists usually seem pretty clueless (and you can't tell them anything anyway!). I wonder if horse-etiquette's on THEIR licensing test.
                      Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it; Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it ~ Goethe


                      • #12
                        I am quite relieved to have moved my horse from a barn where the only outside the arena option was to ride on the road. The road in question was 30 MPH, little traffic except in the mornings and at school pick-up time (and yes, moms driving SUVs while chatting on cell phones are the most dangerous drivers!). It was curvy and on a hill, but the shoulders were quite good for a semi-rural area.

                        I rode out there mostly to get more experience handling spooks and other difficult moments. This was great for my confidence, and my horse's, but scary at times. I learned very quickly to move the horse as far right as possible whenever someone was passing us, in either direction.

                        Most drivers were polite enough to slow down, but there were always those who were not, plus those whose vehicles resembled dragons, from my horse's POV (UPS trucks, pickups towing rattly garden trailers, etc.) Also had the very unpleasant experience of someone's dog barking right in my horse's ear as the car passed us. no fun!

                        Now we are at a place on a busy road, but bordering an 1100 acre State Forest, and I feel like I can ride my horse "on the buckle" a lot more. It is very nice!
                        You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                        1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


                        • #13

                          Interesting that most (if not all) of the posts here are from the East/Northeast! Anyone else out there?!
                          Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it; Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it ~ Goethe


                          • #14
                            I am in MA. I hack on the roads all the time, but I stick to roads that are smaller that I know. I usually have an escape plan in mind in case a driver is too fast. That said, the laws favor the horse in MA, and I have had really good luck with the local drivers.


                            • #15
                              Chiming in from South Florida--Barnfairy--chew skittles candy and heave a handful on the roof of offending drivers. They dry on and stick. Yucky!
                              T3DE 2010 Pact Group
                              Barefoot Eventers Clique


                              • #16
                                You guys are brave; I wouldn't think about riding on our roads here in southern Indiana. We are pretty rural on 10 acres surrounded by farmland and that is where we hack. Just unable to do hard ground work in the mush and wet of winter. It's a great place to live, the bicyclists like to slow traffic down and p*ss everyone off. But people here are not used to seeing horses on rural roads and we just won't risk it..


                                • #17
                                  I will only hack along quiet roads.

                                  At the barn we just moved from, there was a really nice 2-mile loop. After walking maybe 50 yards along the side of a busy road (where there was ample shoulder and grass on the side), you got to the loop. It was all residential, lots of small horse properties, and everyone that drove past was extremely respectful. Slowed way down, moved way over. They always got a smile and a wave.

                                  Once, my mom and I rode past two young boys (under 10 for sure) riding down the road and beside the road in their four-wheelers. Their parents were far behind, but the boys pulled over and idled until we had passed. They got a very heartfelt thank you! It's not that our horses spook at their vehicles - I just really, really appreciated the consideration.

                                  Where we are at now, the 'driveway' is a very long paved road. It's basically a long dead end, several large properties with gravel driveways come off of it. This road is very calm and all drivers are pretty much driving home - very respectful. I ride on this road.

                                  What I will not ride on is the road that this 'driveway' comes off of, which is uncomfortably narrow even in a car, with no shoulder and no easy place to get off the road and people driving very fast. It's not worth the risk.


                                  • #18
                                    I am very fortunate to be able to ride on country roads where there is a shoulder, there is always at least a quarter mile visibility leaving me time to find a driveway in case of farm machinery, light traffic, and considerate drivers. In the past year of re-riding, I haven't been put in a tight spot yet.

                                    But, I've always wanted to ask this question of other riders: Which do you think is safer for shoulder riding... riding with traffic, as the law states, or against traffic?

                                    I usually choose against traffic because I am on the shoulder, and I can look the closest driver in the eye. I just don't think drivers give you enough space when they come up behind you on the same side. Also, I usually choose the widest safest shoulder regardless of whether it is with or against traffic. If I happen to be driving a horse on the road (hasn't happened in a loooong time), then of course I go with traffic.

                                    ETA: and I live in Western NY, so I'm NE too.
                                    Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans


                                    • #19
                                      Today Em and I were standing in OUR driveway, 10 feet back from the edge of the road. Our Bad Beagle was snuffling around in the grass near the edge. A mini truck came ROARING up the hill. Bad Beagle thinks she owns the place and is Bad enough not to care what others say or do so I gave the truck a wave to say slow down please, then pointed at BB. The tiny truck blew by me then jammed on its brakes and backed up. One horse (mine ) was standing nicely, the other was bouncing in a little temper attack. The man in the tiny truck asked if I had a problem. I said I simply waved to ask him to slow down a little, that he was going too fast for this part of the road. He stared at me a minute, noticed BB and said, "That dog should be TIED UP." I agreed and again requested he slow down next time. He said, "You think 25 is TOO FAST?????" Oh he had my blood up by this time, he had been going at least 45...I said, "Really? 25? Huh. You really think you were only going 25?" He rolled up his window and peeled out. Grrrrr, he surely would have run right over that Bad Beagle is she had made the wrong move. Sure, and I agree, she shouldn't have been out there with us, but she was and he could have at least taken his big lead foot off the gas for 8 seconds.
                                      Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Flipper View Post
                                        Interesting that most (if not all) of the posts here are from the East/Northeast! Anyone else out there?!
                                        Yes, how about southeastern South Dakota? I don't event, but I want to do road conditioning. We are 15 miles away from the biggest "city" in the state ;-)

                                        The road in front of the farm is a 55 mph blacktop that even I drive 65mph on. I don't ride on that road at all. I'd love to do road work, but I don't want to die. Also, at times, we can cut across the alfalfa field of the neighbors' and hit the gravel road, but that's almost scarier. It's hilly and farmers are harvesting now (i.e. big trucks driving too fast).

                                        Also, and this is my biggest worry, which I don't see anyone else here with, there are some nasty big dog packs. I'm not going to mention breeds for fear of getting screamed at (I have two dobe's btw and am totally anit-bsl) but let's just say they are big and agile and aggressive. I've run down (literally) the neighbors two and put the fear of God (or horses) into them, but I'm not ready to take on the others.
                                        DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/