Sharing the road with animals

Whether you’re riding your horse, or driving past a horse rider you need to follow certain road rules. Rules also apply to drivers of animal-drawn vehicles, and when you lead an animal when walking.

Horse riders

Horse riders must give way to pedestrians when riding on a footpath or nature strip.

Vehicle drivers must stop at the side of the road and turn off their motor if a horse rider signals that their horse is jumpy or agitated. The horse rider can signal to the driver by raising a hand and pointing to the horse. The driver must not move the vehicle until the noise of the motor, or the movement of the vehicle, won’t  aggravate the horse.

The rider of an animal must not lead more than 1  animal on a road, unless they hold a permit issued by a local council.

Animal-drawn vehicles

Your animal-drawn vehicle must have effective brakes, and adequate lights and reflectors if used at night or when visibility is poor. You may drive an animal-drawn vehicle on or over the edge line on a road to allow other vehicles to pass or overtake. You do not need a driver licence to drive an animal-drawn vehicle, and the vehicle does not need registration.

If you carry passengers in a horse-drawn vehicle you are also required to comply with local government regulations. Check with your  local council or police station for more information.

Travelling on a road or path

You should  ride or lead your  animal on the footpath or nature strip (or other road-related area), if it is practical to do so. Only ride or lead your animal on a road if there is no footpath, nature strip or other road-related area.

The driver or a passenger of a vehicle must not lead an animal from the vehicle, including tying the animal to the vehicle. The same rules apply to bicycle riders.

A person in charge of an animal must not allow its droppings (on a road) to cause a problem for other road users. The driver or rider is responsible for removing any droppings  that fall on the road.

How to avoid a collision with an animal

If you need to take evasive action to avoid an animal on the road, assess the situation and take appropriate action that avoids or prevents risk to yourself and other road users. You must not unreasonably obstruct the path of other road users or cause a traffic hazard.

You may safely stop or drive on the road shoulder to avoid hitting an animal, and if you have a clear view of approaching traffic you may safely:

  • drive to the right of the centre of the road to avoid hitting an animal (if there is no centre line)

  • drive to the right of a dividing line, a dividing strip, over a single continuous line, over two parallel continuous lines or over a painted island to avoid hitting an animal.

Any evasive action you take must be considered necessary and reasonable.