Share the road — with Horses!

photo: AZ Republic
photo: AZ Republic

There was a nice reminder in the paper the other day that motorists aren’t the only ones entitled to use the roads. Ahwatukee area’s horse owners critical of oblivious drivers.

In Arizona law, motorists, bicyclists, as well as riders of animals (as well as animal-draw carts) are all “drivers of vehicles”, with co-equal rights to use the roadways.

The relevant statute in ARS is

§28-625  Persons riding animals or driving animal drawn vehicles
A person riding an animal or driving an animal drawn vehicle on a roadway has all of the rights and is subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this chapter and chapters 4 and 5 of this title, except the provisions of this chapter and chapters 4 and 5 of this title that by their very nature can have no application.

Like bicycles, animals used in transportation, of course, preceded motor vehicles on the roads.

Like bicyclists, animalists (is that a word? That is, the rider of an animal, or the driver of an animal-drawn cart) are not motorists, and are not subject to laws which apply specifically to motorists. See bicycles-are-not-motor-vehicles-and-why-it-matters, for more.

Meanwhile, motorist have extra duties, and are required to exercise extra care when operating in the vicinity of an animal:

 Approaching horses and livestock
A person operating a motor vehicle on a public highway and approaching a horse-drawn vehicle, a horse on which a person is riding or livestock being driven on the highway shall exercise reasonable precaution to prevent frightening and to safeguard the animals and to ensure the safety of persons riding or driving the animals. If the animals appear frightened, the person in control of the vehicle shall reduce its speed and if requested by signal or otherwise shall not proceed further toward the animals unless necessary to avoid accident or injury until the animals appear to be under control.

But what about Texas?

You might have thought Texas would protect animal rider’s/driver’s rights, but apparently they have some vague local laws; in Allen, TX animal riders/drivers aren’t allowed on “heavily traveled” streets. Vauge!? Texas-man-ticketed-for-riding-horse-to-Taco-Bell

In Arizona, as far as I can tell, localities have no authority to regulate the operation of animal riders/drivers. The are simply the drivers of vehicles throughout the state.


3 thoughts on “Share the road — with Horses!”

  1. I don’t know the state laws there; but a mule drawn wagon typically is a vehicle (and not a motor vehicle) was rear-ended by a reportedly texting teen driver….

    A Michigan man with roots in Crittenden County saw his self-appointed mission to travel via mule-drawn covered wagon to visit his father’s grave take a tragic turn with only 150 miles remaining in his journey. Charlie Peters, formerly of West Memphis but now residing in Owosso, Mich., headed south in his self-crafted wagon under the power of his two mules Mattie and Cassie…
    “This is a difficult post,” Peters wrote on his Facebook page where friends and well-wishers have been following his progress. “Yesterday, a young lady rear ended the wagon at a high rate of speed. The impact threw me out the front and broke two ribs and landed me in the hospital.”
    According to reports, 18-year-old Brandy Summers was texting on her cell phone and not paying attention to the road and the slower-moving wagon.

  2. What kind of idiot driver *can’t see* a wagon and two mules on the road ahead of her? This woman is obviously incompetent to drive a motor vehicle. Take away her license, permanently.

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