What will it be like to ride on the roads when we can’t hear the cars coming?
I was taken by surprise when at Tesco’s the other day. I was walking across the car park when suddenly a car was coming towards me – My body didn’t really react and I realized that it was because, although I could see the car, I couldn’t hear it.
And this got me thinking – What is it going to be like riding on the roads when I can’t hear the cars coming?
It is not just horse riders that will be affected. Dog walkers, hikers, joggers, cyclists and parents with push chairs. Not to mention the wildlife and all the ponies and animals living on the moors.
None of us will be able to hear the cars coming.
In the UK the sale of electric cars is increasing rapidly. In 2013 there were 3500, by December 2017 there were more than 130,000 electric cars on the road. From 2040 the Government want to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars. In just 22 years our roads will become a very different place.
I don’t want to get into arguments about the environment, and the reason why we, as a country, need to go electric. Or how the national grid is going to supply enough electricity to keep the cars running. What worries me, is hacking out along windy, country lanes with no idea whether there is a car coming round the next bend!
At the moment, the minute I hear an engine, I either start trotting to the next passing place, or wait squeezed on to the verge to allow the car to pass. My horse probably heard the vehicle long before me so he is as prepared as I am, and not startled by its arrival. If it were to appear out of nowhere, with no warning, the outcome could be quite different.
Some argue that the horse’s range of vision is far greater than ours, they can see almost right behind them. That would be fine if all the roads were straight. Others say it is the noisy engines that frighten their horse, but I believe that for-warned is for-armed. If you can hear the vehicle before the driver can see you, at least you are one step ahead of the situation.
I’d like to know how the Government intends to keep rural roads safe, when people and animals can’t hear the cars.
What do you think?