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Thursday, 21 August 2014

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Cumbria Police warn drivers to take care ahead of Appleby Horse Fair

Cumbria Police has warned drivers to take care ahead of Appleby Fair which is expected to draw in as many as 50,000 horse fans.

The county is expected to see an increase in horse drawn vehicles and caravans on the roads, particularly the A66, as gypsies and travellers make their way to the site.

The horse fair will take place on June 5 to 11.

Police are reminding motorists to be extra vigilant at this time of year to prevent any accidents.

Chief inspector Matthew Kennerley, who heads the Operational Support Unit, said: “Every year we issue messages about people being careful at this time and having an awareness of slow moving vehicles being in the area.

“Thankfully these messages appear to have got through to people, with no serious collisions last year. However, we cannot be complacent.

“Many gypsies and travellers use the traditional method to travel to the fair, by bow top caravans being pulled by horses.

“These are beautiful to see, but do travel very slowly and caution is required.

“If you are behind slow moving traffic, think about what is in front of you, don’t just try and overtake as there could be a horse drawn vehicle in front.

“We are encouraging everyone to slow down and be extra cautious over the coming weeks.

“We are also appealing to drivers of horse drawn vehicles to pull in when they are able to, in order to allow traffic to move more freely and reminding them to be as visible as possible in order to highlight their presence on the road.

“The A66 is a particularly important route for haulage vehicles and we will continue to do all we reasonably can to make sure these messages are communicated effectively to that industry, so that these very professional drivers are aware of the dangers and can take extra care.

“By us all working together and having an awareness of each other, we will be able to dramatically reduce the likelihood of an accident.

Police and crime commissioner Richard Rhodes said: “Road safety is a key priority for the people of Cumbria and especially during Appleby Fair when there is a significant number of slower moving vehicles.

“I would urge all road users to behave responsibly.”

Cllr Keith Little, Cumbria County Council’s cabinet member responsible for highways and road safety, said: “Our highways team will again be working with the police to ensure we keep our roads safe and useable around Fair time.

“During the run up to the event, we will continue to erect posts and signs to prevent parking on verges in inappropriate locations, we will also provide warning signs and information to drivers to take extra care as horse drawn vehicles will be using the roads.

“Some roads in Appleby will be closed or made one-way during the Fair for the safety of those visiting and to help traffic move around.

“We will also be installing safety barriers and temporary signs in various locations around Appleby to help guide pedestrians to safer walking routes and drivers to available car parks.”

Police offer the following advice to road users:

• You never know what is around the next corner so slow down and take extra care

• Be aware of vehicles towing caravans and slow horse drawn vehicles – horses can be easily “spooked”. Avoid revving your engine and turn your music down. Give horses plenty of room and pass carefully

• Be aware of pedestrians.

Pedestrians should only use designated crossing areas for their own safety and wear high visibility clothing where possible

• Allow more time for your journey at peak times, and be patient and courteous if you are delayed

• If you are in charge of a horse drawn or slow moving vehicle, ensure that you are easily visible. Consider your route carefully, with your own safety being paramount.

For more road safety advice, visit www.cumbria.police.uk or contact your local policing team on 101.

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