Wednesday, December 8, 2010

north country residents

there are the locals who have been in the area forever. (all the people i work with)

the non-locals who become locals. (me)

the non-locals who leave after college or when their teaching/doctor/engineering gigs run out. (four colleges)

there are locals who leave only to visit once in a while. (hate the cold/poverty)

there are the old order amish, and from what i know they have been living here only about as long me. (they like the cheap land/old farms available)
i grabbed my camera on the drive home to photograph a frequent sight in this part of the county. see how the white car has swerved into the oncoming lane. not legal. see the pickup driver's response? smart.
see the four gray strips on the back of this buggy? they're reflective. and there's a little lantern mount on the left hand side of the back about half way down. a small white light is visible from it at night, when the lantern is lit. 

two weeks ago i was driving to work. it was dawn, when i'm on the road, and i know to watch for buggies. apparently the small truck pulled to the side of the road and the totally mangled buggy had made terrible contact sometime before i showed up. the horse was standing off in the grass, the two men were on their feet and talking. 

a great fear of mine: that i might hit a buggy some day. i wish i could speak to the amish community elders and convince them to require their congregations to place the slow moving triangle on their vehicles. led lights would be good, similar to what cyclists use. i have good eyes. i can't see a buggy if i'm traveling at 50 mph at dawn until i am almost upon it, the lighting isn't good enough.

this road has a 55 mph speed limit for all but one mile. everyone speeds. a collision with a  buggy could be fatal. this inability of local communities to legislate for the good of all, and the failure on the parts of the amish communities to allow/require proper lighting will continue to result in horrific accidents. we can share the roads. we should all be visible. cars should not swerve, they should slow and pass when safe, amish should have proper safety lighting. then, maybe these accidents will diminish.


grace Forrest~Maestas said...

yes..nice thoughts, but more complex.
it's something about
an interesting word, concept
what is
how we want stuff to be convenient
easy to see
not to smash into
we like it
but want it to be
i am looking closely and deeply to jude's
words/or thoughts
comfort zone

Margaret Braun said...

Well said Grace!

kaite said...

The same thing happens here, and probably there too with bicycles. we even have a bike lane in parts of Bathurst but the older men don't use it - not mannish enough perhaps? but it's not the people who can make their own decisions that really bother me, it's the kangaroos and wallabies here who are following ancient instinct trails especially at dawn and dusk. our road kill is horrendous, even i have contributed to it.
But back to your buggies, if they can accept modern reflective strips then surely sense should prevail and they accept slow moving triangles. good call...k.

Suzanna said...

Yes...I know some cars have warning buzzer when the curb is near, it seems like it should be possible for a car to have a warning buzzer if something is in its path at higher speeds...esp. when the light is fragile like at dawn/dusk. Some kind of new protective technology so that there can safely be diversity of transportation.

Marilla said...

I agree, Velma. I don't understand why driver's coming up behind a buggy don't wait until the oncoming traffic has passed.

I almost hit a buggy once on a very back road with no street lights. There were no lights at all on the buggy, and it's amazing I didn't hit it. It was very frightening. I think the orange reflective triangles work really well, and I don't understand why the Amish elders wouldn't think they were a useful thing for keeping their people safe.

jude said...

or what if we all had buggys?

Cait Throop said...

I agree, Velma...they take their lives in their hands every time they go out on the road here. And proper lighting would certainly help as well as people slowing down to pass!! Just saw a young Amish teenage girl riding her horse on Rt56 the other day--no saddle, getting dark. Looked like she had to get home and maybe her buggy had a flat or something. Never saw the buggy and never saw the Amish ride astride either!

I would love it if we all had buggys!!! xo

Velma said...

we may travel back to all having buggies, but for now, we are living in a moderate war zone. on my drive home i passed three buggies. no one slowed down. everyone swerved.

as a horse girl i would welcome horse power. but for now, we have a problem. a big one.

mjc said...

When I lived in Ohio the Amish there agreed to the big red reflective helped. The red - and the symbol - wakes you up.

I wouldn't mind if we all went back to horses as well...though I can imagine many odd scenarios with cleanup in a place like Chicago (and, unfortunate but true: animal abuse).

Fiona Dempster said...

I'm with Kaite - we have more trouble with animals than buggies especially at dusk (by night they have headed home). I can only imagien the fear and horror, the racing heart, of coming across a buggy in the dark and only just missing it. Travel safe...

Velma said...

kaite and fiona, i can't even begin to address the road kill/animal issue. barry lopez wrote an amazing piece about it called apologia. we can't really prevent the animal problem (except slowing down and vigilance) but we can decrease car/buggy accidents by good sense, and lacking that, legislation.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the orange triangles don't protect the Amish and their horses from the drunk drivers who seem to pick them off a lot around this area...Lancaster PA.

Velma said...

no one is safe from drunk drivers, are they?

deemallon said...

I was thinking 'legislation' too -- I wouldn't think a reflective red triangle would offend the Amish code (would it?). but maybe it has to be required by county.

and speaking of drunk drivers, do you know that speaking on a cell phone is WORSE than driving drunk? every time I am confronted by someone who nearly kills me or just super-aggravates me on the road these days, they are invariably TALKING on THEIR PHONE!!!

Velma said...

dee-each community is self-legislated. here, the local law doesn't mess with amish unless it's a blatant infraction...i guess that's what they're thinking.

i think it's texting that's the bigger problem with phone use, according to the car guys.

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