A equine is a horse (of course!), however is it additionally a vehicle? Today’s website traffic Talk explores a “share the road” object readers have actually been asking around since this column introduced – what rules of the road apply to horses?

Granted, this might be much more useful to vehicle drivers in landscape areas. Whereby I grew up on the suburbs of Zeeland – "greater Zeeland," if you will – equines on the roadway were a usual sight. However the same legislations for steeds with riders likewise apply to horse-drawn vehicles typical to cities, such as romantic-inducing carriages. Therefore if her Valentine's job plans involve any sort the horse's-rear-end proximity, this consists of you, too.

You are watching: Horse-drawn vehicles are not allowed on public roadways.

Ridden or herded animals are thought about "traffic" under Michigan law, and according come the car code, they are treated like vehicles:

Last year our sister site, AnnArbor.com, featured a guest pillar on this topic whose author, Kathy Lundberg, a stable owner, explained, "Only after ~ dismounting is the rider considered a pedestrian and the equine an animal. Horses are permitted to be ridden ~ above all roads unless otherwise indicated."

“Otherwise indicated” would include most freeways and also toll roads, whereby this would be declared with signage to the impact of, “No animals, bicycles or pedestrians past this point.”

Laws “which by their very nature might not have application” include reasonably obvious things that execute not use to horses, such together rules around headlamps, windshield wipers, chair belts, etc. Riders are, however, required to indicate turns (using hand signals), obey rate limits and stop at prevent signs.

Lundberg points the end that courtesy and common feeling are referred to as for by every parties, but, understandably, the load for caution rests a little more heavily top top the shoulders the the motorist since the stakes space so high. Steeds behave much less erratically than, say, deer, but due to the fact that they room so lot larger, a car-horse collision deserve to be catastrophic for everyone involved.

These collisions are reasonably rare and, as Lundberg writes, not tracked reliably in the U.S., but anybody that has had actually a near miss out on with a equine -- together I go once, in greater Zeeland -- will tell girlfriend it’s undeniably nerve-rattling.

So how deserve to riders minimize danger? HorseRides.org and also horsesenseontheroads.info market plenty of general tips and rules for road riding:

• ride your equine in the exact same direction as traffic, and stay together close to the leaf of the road as possible.

• over there is no legal period limit because that riding a horse, but novice riders need to never go on roads without a an ext experienced companion.

• If over there is much more than one horse, shot to journey single-file fairly than two abreast. If speak abreast, put the much more experienced steed on the next closest to traffic.

• If you should cross the road, wait for a comfortable void in traffic and signal your intentions clearly to any type of vehicle that can be in the vicinity.

Drivers likewise should exercise heightened caution when approaching a horse and also rider. The british Horse culture offers some suggestions for motorists about how to interact safely with equestrians: sluggish down if you see someone top top a horse, wait to see if the rider is comfortably in control of the animal before passing, check for signals, pass slowly and also give the animal a vast berth.

Now, what about your horse-drawn carriage (romantic or otherwise)? earlier installments of traffic Talk have described laws that apply specifically come "implements that husbandry" – a fancy means of saying farm yard vehicles – i m sorry are required to be afflicted with the commonly recognizable orange safety and security triangles on the behind to show they are Slow relocating Vehicles.

Horse-drawn carriages or buggies need these because, together Michigan State Police an initial Lt. Mike Church, a traffic-law expert, explained in a Patch obelisk last year, Michigan regulation considers castle implements that husbandry even if their duty does not relate especially to farming. (I wonder if I'm the only human being snickering at the term "implement that husbandry" in the context of this week's stunner holiday.)

The relevant part of the Michigan auto Code on lights and signage for implements the husbandry and also SMVs is here.

Interesting next note: In Michigan and many other states, the rules around orange safety triangles apply to the Amish, whose horse-and-buggy conveyances room a usual site in some components of the country. In Kentucky, one ultraconservative Amish team is fighting a series of current arrests for failure to use the warning triangles, on the grounds the legislation violates their religious freedom.Anyway, triangle usage is no the just responsibility for the slow-moving vehicle. Drivers likewise must make certain they space not obstructing traffic. As the MVC explains: "A person, there is no authority, shall no block, obstruct, impede, or otherwise interfere through the normal circulation of vehicular or pedestrian web traffic upon a publicly street or highway in this state, by means of a barricade, object, or device, or v his or she person."

This is just one of those “up to interpretation” sections of state law, but in general, if over there is a line of traffic behind your romantic carriage ride, the driver could be guilty the a polite infraction.

So, equipped with this knowledge, it is in safe and also enjoy your following trip ~ above or behind a horse. Simply be careful what you feeding it.

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