WESTERN AUSTRALIAN ROAD TRAFFIC CODE 2000

Horse riding on roads in Western Australia is regulated by the Road Traffic Code 2000. Based on the Road Traffic Code 2000, the Office for Road Safety developed an information sheet providing a simplified interpretation of the law relating to the riding and leading of horses on public roads and paths in Western Australia; Western Australian Road Rules relating to horses and riders (August

2010).

 

Under traffic laws horses ridden or driven (in harness) on roads, nature strips, paths and

footpaths are treated the same as vehicles, with the same rights and responsibilities as other vehicles including motor vehicles, bicycles and power assisted pedal cycles. Key rules are summarised below:

 

  1. Riders are required to obey all the road rules that apply to drivers of motor vehicles.

  2. Riding a horse on or alongside any road (other than freeways) is permitted unless a road sign says otherwise.

  3. There are a few areas that ridden/driven horses can go that motor vehicles are not

permitted. These include on paths and nature strips, unless otherwise signed.

  1. Horses can be ridden on the shoulder of a road, or to the left of any continuous edgeline, in the same direction of traffic.

  2. Riders on, or crossing, nature strips and paths must give way to pedestrians.

  3. Horses can be ridden across roads but must give way to all traffic on the road.

  4. Horses must not be ridden across a road on a ‘pedestrian crossing’ or ‘children’s crossing’ - the rider must dismount and walk the horse across.

  5. Horses must not be ridden alongside more than one other horse on a road (or shoulder).

  6. Riders must give hand signals when changing direction.

  7. Riding at night can be dangerous. Horses and riders are not required by law to have lights displayed and are therefore not easily seen. While riding on or next to roads at night should be avoided – riders who do should ensure a reflective vest is worn and horses have reflective bands attached (such as reflective leg bandages).

  8. It is not compulsory for riders of horses to wear helmets, although it is advisable to do so.

  9. A rider cannot lead more than one other horse.

  10. Horses must not be tethered to moving vehicles or led by a person in a motor vehicle.

  11. It is illegal to ride while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or to ride without care or attention.

  12. A person leading a horse while walking is deemed to be a pedestrian and must obey all the rules applying to pedestrians.

  13. A person leading a horse should use the path or nature strip if provided.  If a path or nature strip is not provided, or is provided but not in a useable condition, then the person must walk facing oncoming traffic.

 

Tips for Riders:

  • Avoid riding on roads or shoulders of roads if there are alternative places to ride, such a nature strip.

  • Check behind before changing directions.

  • Don’t ride on a road if the horse is unsettled.

  • Ride on the nature strip as a first option. Riding on nature strips is safer than riding on shoulders which in turn is safer than riding on the road. However, if there is no option - ride as far left as possible.

  • Be aware of traffic.

  • Always wear a helmet when riding.

  • Wear light coloured clothing during the day and at night a reflective vest with reflective bands on your horse. 

 

Tips for drivers:

  • While riders of horses are required to obey the same traffic laws that apply to drivers of motor vehicles, horses can be unpredictable.

  • They are permitted to ride on road, shoulders of road, paths and nature strips.

  • If you know horses are likely to be in the area, or you see horses, reduce speed and give then a wide berth. Expect the unexpected.

  • Do not sound your horn when you are close to horses as it may startle them and cause them to move erratically.