"It is saddening when the actions of a few individuals undermine an experience that is so positive for so many," says event organiser
Event organiser Human Race has issued a further statement over the shocking video that appeared at the weekend showing cyclists riding into a horse during a triathlon, saying it’s “saddening when the actions of a few individuals undermine an experience that is so positive for so many.”
The incident, recorded in a video by the horse rider identified as Jennifer Katherine on Facebook, shows riders in the bike leg of the Royal Windsor Triathlon on Sunday close passing the horse at high speed with one rider clipping the horse as they undertook it.
The horse remained remarkably calm despite the incident, however Jennifer Katherine described the incident as “terrifying” in a lengthy Facebook post and that she was “lucky to ride such a calm animal.”
Race organiser Human Race said on Monday that it would launch a swift investigation into the incident, but released a subsequent statement on Tuesday addressing the most frequently asked questions from the media and viewers of the video which has garnered over 4.5m views.
“We are aware of the incident that occurred during the 28th Royal Windsor Triathlon on the morning of Sunday 17 June,” the statement said.
“We are in direct contact with the horse rider who was involved, and we have offered our sincere apologies for the danger and upset that this incident caused.
“Our events are permitted by British Triathlon and therefore adhere to all industry guidance regarding event delivery. Competitors are further required to abide by the British Triathlon Competition Rules, applied by the Technical Officials in attendance.
“Alongside British Triathlon and its Officials, we are currently reviewing the evidence, and those found at fault of dangerous cycling or in breach of the rules will be disqualified from this event and banned from participating in any future Human Race events.”
Human Race said it took necessary steps to try and mitigate any incidents during the bike leg of the event, which takes place on open roads, erecting signage ahead of the event on June 7 to warn all road users, with further signage put up the day before the event.
It also said “all participants in the event are informed in pre-event communications and event-day briefings to follow the Highway Code, and we do not condone dangerous cycling of any kind.”
Human Race said it was now working with British Triathlon and the local police over the incident, adding that it runs events to make a “positive impact” on local communities.
“Human Race operate in this industry because of the positive impact it brings to individuals, charities and local communities,” it said.
“We work hard to deliver high quality and safe events, and it is saddening when the actions of a few individuals undermine an experience that is so positive for so many.
“We take our responsibility as an event organiser very seriously, and as such will be working with all relevant stakeholders to implement learnings from this experience.”
You can find out more about how the British Horse Society advises cyclists approach horses here, and you can read Human Race’s answers to the most frequently asked questions below.
1. Why can you organise a Triathlon on open roads?
We follow best practice as per guidelines from British Triathlon. Throughout the planning process we liaise with the local council’s highways department and with the relevant Safety Advisory Groups about the event and its routes. The bike course takes place on open roads so individual participants are required to always ride within the rules of the Highway Code, and act with due care and to ensure their own safety as well as that of all others also using the road.
2. Were there warning signs about the event taking place for road users?
There were signs up at all major junctions from 7 June, following consultation with a professional traffic management company. In addition, further cycle event warning signage was put in place at key locations across the course the day before the event. We understand in this case that the individual affected was not aware of the event taking part despite this. Human Race has initiated a review of the signage to see if this can be improved in the future. We are also assessing our communication plan and working on ways to communicate better with the local community including local stables and other horse owners where possible.
3. Was the incident something to do with the last-minute route change?
No, there was a late change required to the Olympic length course due to road works, however the route change meant that the participants used a road that was already signposted from 7 June for our sprint distance event.
4. Are the riders being prosecuted/reported to the police?
Human Race Events are currently reviewing the video footage to identify the individuals involved. Once it has been established who was at fault, we will be able to take further action. If any competitor is found guilty of causing this incident they will be disqualified and banned from all future events. We will also pass this information on to British Triathlon. Human Race Events will assist the police, by supplying them any information they require for their own investigation.
5. What will you be doing to educate cyclists about horse riders?
We currently inform all our participants before the race that they need to adhere to the Highway code in our event communication. We repeat this on event day in our briefings to each wave. In addition to this, moving forward at our briefings we will specifically highlight the need for riders to be aware of horses and the need to pass with due care. In the future we will be working with the individual affected to look at ways to work more closely with the local riding community, so they are aware of any events we hold.