did you know that horse and buggy crashes are an invitation to seek solutions | Opinion


Last week’s article was about horse and buggy accidents in Yates County in the Finger Lakes region south of Rochester. Today’s article will focus on possible solutions to reduce buggy accidents statewide.

To better deal with what often causes a vehicle-buggy collision, Yates County Sheriff Ron Spike has teamed up with Mennonite families to add a flashing white or amber strobe light to the rear of the vehicle. buggy. It’s an effort to get the driver’s attention more quickly, giving them time to brake before a collision occurs.

“We definitely think if you start coming up behind a buggy with that strobe light flashing, (a driver) will see it a lot quicker. The flashing light really gets their attention,” Spike said.

Judson Reid, a Cornell Cooperative Extension specialist in Corning who has worked with Old Order Mennonite culture for 20 years and is a published author on the subject, agrees that the flashing light will help motor vehicle drivers see more. easily a horse and a buggy in front of them.

Spike said that another big issue that can often lead to accidents is that strollers are painted black due to religious belief. “This black color is a visual visibility issue with the ability of most people’s eyes to adjust to this color,” Spike said.

In an attempt to make a buggy more visible earlier to motorists approaching a buggy from behind, Sheriff Spike said he’s working with some of the Mennonite leaders on using strobe lights on buggies very similar to flashing white strobe lights. allowed on school buses for hazards. operations. Spike filmed buggies with sparkles and sent pictures of them to the NYS DMV and the Governor’s Highway Safety Committee. The strobe attracts your attention in daylight, but it is too bright at night. Spike requests that the DMV commissioner decide that these strobe lights will be allowed on strollers, but it takes time.

Sheriff Spike also designs public service announcements on billboards that will hopefully help drivers understand the dangers involved when sharing the roads with Amish and Mennonite families. A horse and a buggy are a legal user of our roads and highways. They have the right to use roads and highways as much as motor vehicles. They are simply different users of the same public space and this also applies to pedestrians and cyclists. There is no difference just because a motor vehicle goes faster and weighs more.

Accurate statistics could help understand collisions

Spike said he has long asked the state Department of Motor Vehicles, New York State Police and other agencies to clarify exactly when a slow vehicle crash involves a horse and a buggy, as opposed to farm tractors, farm equipment, and other slow-moving vehicles. moving vehicles. “Right now, slow vehicles, you don’t know if we’re talking about a horse and buggy on a traffic report, a farm tractor, or a piece of farm equipment,” Spike said.

“We just need to have better stats on breaking down these things to better handle them.” Spike said the change would let everyone know exactly what type of slow crash has happened.

Hopefully Sheriff Spike’s job can make our roads safer for everyone.

– Dave Werner is vice chairman of the Franklin County Traffic Safety Board.

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