Northern New York Newspapers
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Wed., Mar. 4
Serving the communities of Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties, New York
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The Amish should display signs on buggies

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I was nearly run off the road by a tractor-trailer swerving to avoid colliding with an Amish buggy on Route 68 between Canton and Ogdensburg.

I was heading south to Canton at 9:42 p.m. when the tractor-trailer came into my lane sending me onto the shoulder of the road to avoid a head-on collision.

In November 2010 I wrote a letter to the editor on the topic of Amish buggies in New York state not having to have the orange slow-moving vehicle signs on the back of their buggies like tractors, wagons and manure spreaders need to.

I was informed that the Amish had worked out a deal where they did not have to comply with this requirement in New York state. They are able to put some dull “reflective tape” on the backs of their buggies and hang a lantern with a small flame in it to be legal in New York. It is beyond belief that the Amish can risk their own lives, the lives of their children, the lives of their animals and the lives of innocent automobile drivers who might get involved in an accident with them due to the drivers’ inability to see the black buggies, black horses and black clothing that the Amish wear.

In response to my 2010 letter, someone wrote the Watertown Times and told me to slow down, as if that would have helped me tonight! As a veterinarian and a human being, I am concerned about this issue.

Recently, I was in Lancaster, Pa., where over 30,000 Amish live. The Amish there have the triangular slow-moving vehicle signs as well as battery-powered headlights and taillights on their buggies. I inquired how the Amish could be forced to use these devices. I was told that it is the law in Pennsylvania. The Amish obey the laws where they live. In Lancaster, Amish houses must have running water and indoor bathrooms. Outhouses are only allowed at the one-room schoolhouses.

The Amish will do what they must to comply with the local laws and still keep within their religious boundaries (by using batteries and generators). They are doing it well in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, under the watchful eye of the local law enforcement agencies. How about making them do the same thing here in St. Lawrence County?

Tony Beane


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