As part of a review of BD 29/87, Design Criteria for Footbridges, Parsons Brinckerhoff Ltd was required to undertake tests using ridden horses to investigate a range of parameters relating to equestrian use of overbridges. Data was collected both through practical trials at two separate locations and via a questionnaire circulated through the British Horse Society. Opportunity was taken within the questionnaire to invite equestrian comments on the use of highway bridges generally. From the responses received to the questionnaires it is apparent that a significant proportion of horse riders consider that, in many cases, crossing existing bridges is a major hindrance to access of desirable riding areas because of concerns about parapet provisions. However the vast majority of the structures which give rise to such concerns are highway bridges, which are not designated as bridleways or equestrian routes and therefore do not have equestrian provisions such as appropriate parapets or segregation. The majority of respondents considered that these concerns would be greatly reduced by upgrading parapet provisions on such bridges, where they are used regularly by riders to access equestrian routes. Of those riders taking part in the trial that had used dedicated equestrian crossings, the concerns were reduced considerably although it was generally felt that existing equestrian provisions could be improved.

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