California Motor Vehicle Code 21759
California Vehicle Code 21759 states that a driver of a car or truck must approach animals with care. If you come upon a horse-drawn vehicle, someone on horseback or livestock crossing the road, you must maintain control of your vehicle and slow down. If necessary, you may have to stop your car and wait for the animals to pass you. You must also follow all signals indicated by the handler of the animal, and stop or slow down as instructed.
The purpose of this law is to avoid frightening the animal and insure the safety of the riders, animals, and handlers. Usually, the handler or rider will allow you to pass at a reasonable pace. If they don't allow you to pass, there may be a reason for it -- like a narrow roadway or a skittish animal. If the handler signals for you to stop, it is for your own safety as well as the handler's and animal's safety.
If you whiz by the animals honking your horn and cursing, you are likely to cause the rider to have an accident. Moreover, you'll be a jerk too. A spooked horse is a dangerous horse, and many people have been killed or seriously injured when falling off a runaway horse. Horses are prey animals, and once they start becoming intimidated, it is sometimes difficult to get them back under control. Be courteous and yield the right of way to any animals you see on the roads.
If you're not cautious, and don't comply with the law you could be in trouble. If the rider or handler gets your license plate number you can expect to see a ticket and subpoena in the mail because a negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress and violation of CVC 21759 charge may have just been filed against you.
Regardless of whether you are in a vehicle or riding a horse, it is important to work together to stay safe when out on the roadways. There are many shared responsibilities between the horseback rider and the driver of a car.
At BISNAR CHASE we love animals, and we love our cars. We want to make sure the roads stay safe for all people using the roads.