Lessons from a viral social media post – Road Visibility

Horses not visible on road

A few weeks ago, I did a personality quiz and the result was ‘Advocate’: unsurprisingly. I am not afraid to speak up and speak out when needed. Sometimes to my own detriment, perhaps it is something I will grow out of, although I doubt it. However, when I shared a picture on social media recently, I was genuinely surprised by the reaction and hadn’t seen it as controversial or outspoken, but I unexpectedly poked some bears!

400,000 people ended up seeing my photo and it was shared over 2,500 times. And goodness the reactions were dramatic.

7.30am on a misty autumnal morning in Berkshire, admiring the three beautiful horses out on a morning ride… yes there are THREE HORSES between me and the an coming the other way!

Quite simply, I have been made aware by the lovely trolls on social media a few important things:

  • WEARING HI-VIS IS UNCOOL. It is the equivalent of the girl at school wearing the orthopaedic shoes and thermal vests and saying things like “you can never be too careful”, or the boy who wore glasses and was such a Geek, so much cringe, social suicide….Oh wait one second, did you not hear that Geek is now cool? Being different and standing out from a crowd is now applauded!? Have you never seen Glee!? Staying safe isn’t frowned upon, it’s actually now the Bullies who are uncool……
  • EVERYTHING ON SOCIAL MEDIA IS OUT TO TRICK US. One interesting comment was the person accusing me of doctoring the photograph – I actually had to google what he said as he’d used high tech language that I didn’t understand, so definitely didn’t know how to do. I admit that the image is not high quality, it is through a windscreen too but I am intrigued by my motivation to doctor the image. Perhaps I was maliciously trying to trick people into being safer and more visible on roads!?
  • ONE PERSPECTIVE IS ALWAYS RIGHT. I shared another similar photo (shown at the end of this blog) and one lady adamently wanted to point out that she was there at the time and the photo was a gross representation! In fact, on further inspection she was on the same road, two hours earlier from the other direction…. could it not potentially be possible that her view may have been different but both are equally as valid!? A perfect example in fact of two perspectives of a similar situation.
  • IF IN DOUBT, ATTACK THE PERSON POSTING. People stated that the photo was more dangerous than the situation being raised and I should lose my licence or be banned from driving – with no evidence to show that I took the photo, the vehicle was moving, the photo wasn’t taken by a passenger or by a dash cam…. Also I obviously had a ‘vendetta against the racing industry’ despite never specifying where the photo was taken or being industry specific and I imagine not knowing anything about me (see my Bio!). And the obvious one that I had nothing better to do with my life than ‘needlessly attacking people’. Fascinating stuff.
  • And of course WE ARE ALL TOTALLY SOLO AND LIVE ON ISLANDS SO CAN DO AS WE PLEASE. You can do whatever you want and if I want to ride down a public highway on my black horse in an all black outfit then that’s my decision. Has this pandemic year not made us realise that our actions effect others!? No, you don’t get to act without consideration for others. What about the effects on the driver? Or your family when you get hurt? Or the NHS who have to put you back together!? I am not saying we should all march around giving unsolicited advice but we certainly should consider other and raise awareness of welfare issues if we can…..

So, I am going to make a big revelation here – as well as being an advocate, I am freakishly honest – I never used to wear Hi-Vis. I was one of the people that thought it was over the top, unnecessary and quite simply not very pretty….. That was until I was driving down the road, on a sunny day and saw this:

I shared the post purely as it made me think differently and it could encourage others to do the same.

One final point is that I didn’t share the post, as I was accused, to sell Hi Vis and profit from my malicious and doctored images. However….

  • Check out Keep in Contact on Facebook who provide flourescent bands with contact information on for yourself and your horse. Quote HVH for a discount.
  • Rider Eye provide fantastic high vis products – not bulky, awkward or flappy to suit everyone. For equestrian employers – racing stables, riding schools, hunt yards etc. To celebrate National Road Safety Awareness Week – There is a special offer of 10 for £50!! 60cm short hi viz, velcro fastening, latest standard recommended by the BHS for professional use (you won’t sit on it!).

And before the trolls kick off again, I am not profiting from either of these promotions… Stay safe people. x

4 horses riding into wooded part of road. Visibility bad.

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3 comments

  1. Wearing Hi Viz on the roads is one of my personal rants. Last year I nearly hit a dark bay horse and rider all in black on a country lane, when I stopped and suggested he wear something visible he told me I “shouldn’t be F***** driving” and some more words I’m not sure of the meaning of. Many years ago now my younger brother was knocked down while cycling in the evening, he was killed. My father said to me afterwards that he wished he’d made him wear high viz.

  2. I have read some of the comments on FB – astonishing! Putting horses in this type of danger is totally unacceptable. It has been suggested that lads would be expected to buy their own hi- vis while keeping them on a very low income. What sort of industry does this?

  3. To be honest Daisy I was dismayed at the immediate attack on your recent post ! Nowhere did you say where the photo was taken and yet those opposed to your reasoning almost gave sat nav details as to where it occurred. I’m bewildered as to why anyone would want to argue against safety for horse and rider. Your photo didn’t lie, it was what you were seeing at the time and really whether there was a tractor and a man in a hi viz jacket ahead of the riders it still didn’t alter the fact all you could make out were horse riders as shadows on the road! I’m also surprised that the people who were most opposed to your post must also follow you and surely know your views on safety ?

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