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Amish buggy safety issue reviewed by county board

Many county residents who drive in certain areas of eastern Otter Tail County know they need to keep a watch for horse-drawn Amish buggies. Road safety is a matter of life and death.

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Road safety signs are in place along county roads where horse-drawn Amish buggies are prevalent. Courtesy photo.

Many county residents who drive in certain areas of eastern Otter Tail County know they need to keep a watch for horse-drawn Amish buggies. Road safety is a matter of life and death.

Prime areas are in the Deer Creek area, along Highways 210 and 29. Other areas where horse-drawn buggies are used include the New York Mills and Bluffton areas.

At present, many buggies have triangles on the back that designate Amish buggies as slow-moving carriages. However, the triangles oftentimes are hard to see, especially as nighttime approaches.

A new reactive measure for this area, as in other states, is to encourage drivers of horse-drawn buggies to have the back of each carriage surrounded by white reflective tape.

The tape will be an enhanced signal for drivers of vehicles to exercise caution when approaching and passing horse-drawn buggies.

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"We need to step into their (Amish) world and express our safety concerns," said Fergus Falls County Commissioner Lee Rogness to fellow county board members on July 24.

To that end, the county health department will work in conjunction with the county sheriff office and make contacts with members of the Amish community in eastern Otter Tail County.

County Commissioner Doug Huebsch of Perham said it's important to improve visibility and increase safety for both people in buggies and those in vehicles.

The county highway department will likely add road safety signs along county roads where horse-drawn Amish buggies are prevalent.

"The same safety concerns have been expressed by residents of nearby Todd County," said Huebsch. "It's well and good that we address this issue for the well being of both the Amish who ride in horse-drawn buggies and for area drivers as well."

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