Amish Buggies & Orange Triangles

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Remember_Me
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Amish Buggies & Orange Triangles

Postby Remember_Me » Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:54 pm

Does their religious freedom trump our rights to travel roadways as safely as possible?

MAYFIELD, Kentucky (AP) — On Jacob Gingerich's farm in western Kentucky, there is no phone or electricity for his family of 12 children. He even sees putting an orange safety triangle on their black horse-drawn buggy as a violation of the simple and pious life his Amish faith requires.

He and other Amish men in rural Graves County have become scofflaws for not using the reflective signs, ignoring state law, disobeying orders from a judge and even going to jail for not paying fines.

To Gingerich and others in the conservative Amish community known as Swartzentruber, using the bright reflective symbol amounts to blasphemy. They consider it garish and believe they should rely on God, not symbols, for protection on the highway.

"We try to lead a simple, plain life," Gingerich said from his workshop as blue and navy shirts and pants fluttered on a clothesline outside. "Putting that orange triangle on the back of our buggy would not leave our buggies plain anymore."

He and seven other Amish men were sent to jail in September for a few days for refusing to pay fines related to vehicle sign violations. A ninth Amish man avoided jail time when a local resident paid his fine. At least two other Kentucky counties, Grayson and Logan, have recently summoned men into court for driving unmarked buggies. A court date on Thursday could land more in jail.

A group of Swartzentruber Amish who recently met with an Associated Press reporter at Gingerich's farm fear they would be treated as outcasts by other Swartzentruber communities around the country if they use the safety triangles.

Many Amish use the triangles with little objection, but Swartzentruber is a breakaway order that follows even stricter rules on modesty, humility and behavior than other Amish.

"If we go ahead and put it on, the other groups of the Amish in other states, they would shun us," said Joe Stutzman, another man who has been jailed.

The issue over triangles has come up before in other states with Amish populations. Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania have allowed exemptions from the orange triangles, and courts in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan have sided with the religious freedom argument.


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Petro
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Re: Amish Buggies & Orange Triangles

Postby Petro » Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:01 pm

That's fine. They can leave their buggies plain so long as they don't insist on driving them on roads.

If your religion excludes you from playing by the same rules as any other cars, it also excludes you from using roads. It's that simple.

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Re: Amish Buggies & Orange Triangles

Postby ilikebeans » Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:22 pm

"Putting that orange triangle on the back of our buggy would not leave our buggies plain anymore."

Paved roads are not plain-- they have that garish stripe down the middle. Easy solution: Stick to plain dirt paths.

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Re: Amish Buggies & Orange Triangles

Postby dave esmond » Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:23 pm

Are people really claiming they can't see a big ass slow moving horse drawn buggy without a 1 foot high orange triangle?

If so they're the danger not the Amish.

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Re: Amish Buggies & Orange Triangles

Postby Petro » Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:28 pm

dave esmond wrote:Are people really claiming they can't see a big ass slow moving horse drawn buggy without a 1 foot high orange triangle?

If so they're the danger not the Amish.


You've obviously never made a turn on an unlit country road at night, only to come upon a buggy.

They're big, but they're also dark-colored. They sometimes have lanterns or candles, but not always. The SMV triangle is about all that you can see from a distance.

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Re: Amish Buggies & Orange Triangles

Postby dave esmond » Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:35 pm

Petro wrote:You've obviously never made a turn on an unlit country road at night, only to come upon a buggy.

They're big, but they're also dark-colored. They sometimes have lanterns or candles, but not always. The SMV triangle is about all that you can see from a distance.


Sure I have. I've also come across tractors without lights, children, garbage cans, dogs, raccoons, bike riders without lights, etc.

Pay attention. It's kinda important when you're driving. The Amish I've encountered seem to use the same roads most of the time, so if you're driving on one of those roads you ought to be looking for 'em.

I travel unlit country roads everyday. You need to be alert to all kinds of stuff out there.

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Re: Amish Buggies & Orange Triangles

Postby drinkinblackcoffee » Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:44 pm

Petro nailed it. Those carriages are difficult to spot after dusk even with the reflective triangle. With crappy weather, a quick, reactive jerk of the wheel could easily cause an accident.

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Re: Amish Buggies & Orange Triangles

Postby ilikebeans » Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:53 pm

drinkinblackcoffee wrote:Petro nailed it. Those carriages are difficult to spot after dusk even with the reflective triangle. With crappy weather, a quick, reactive jerk of the wheel could easily cause an accident.

Even with a triangle, isn't it illegal to be on the road after sunset without (garish, blasphemous!) lights?

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Re: Amish Buggies & Orange Triangles

Postby Stomach » Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:55 pm

The only takeaway from this is that even the Amish are stubborn asses in Kentucky.

Three cheers for the fucking Commonwealth.

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Re: Amish Buggies & Orange Triangles

Postby Petro » Thu Jan 12, 2012 3:02 pm

dave esmond wrote:Sure I have. I've also come across tractors without lights, children, garbage cans, dogs, raccoons, bike riders without lights, etc.

Pay attention. It's kinda important when you're driving. The Amish I've encountered seem to use the same roads most of the time, so if you're driving on one of those roads you ought to be looking for 'em.

I travel unlit country roads everyday. You need to be alert to all kinds of stuff out there.


That's great and we're all very proud of your abilities, but that doesn't change the fact that orange triangle is generally the only thing that stands out on the rear of a matte-black buggy at night.

I pay attention when driving in those conditions (mainly because I'm looking for deer), but that's hardly an excuse in favor of the Amish being even harder to see.

What exactly are you arguing in favor of, anyway?

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Re: Amish Buggies & Orange Triangles

Postby dave esmond » Thu Jan 12, 2012 3:33 pm

Petro wrote:What exactly are you arguing in favor of, anyway?


Cutting folks who aren't traveling more then 20 miles from their homes some slack. It's not like they just travel random roads. We kinda know where they're gonna be.

I've got a friend who owns the only non-Amish house on the road his house is on. When I travel there I know I need to be aware of buggies.

It's kinda a good neighbor thing to me. If you live somewhere Amish travel cut 'em some slack and pay attention. The same way I know where I'm likely to encounter tractors and other farm equipment I pay a little more attention.

But then again I don't expect anywhere I drive to be 100% free of risk and surprises. I simply can't get too worked up about the small amount of extra risk an unmarked buggy creates.

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Re: Amish Buggies & Orange Triangles

Postby Petro » Thu Jan 12, 2012 3:52 pm

dave esmond wrote:It's kinda a good neighbor thing to me. If you live somewhere Amish travel cut 'em some slack and pay attention. The same way I know where I'm likely to encounter tractors and other farm equipment I pay a little more attention.

But then again I don't expect anywhere I drive to be 100% free of risk and surprises. I simply can't get too worked up about the small amount of extra risk an unmarked buggy creates.


I don't see any problem in having an expectation that people making use of a roadway should be playing by the same rules. It's a good neighbor thing - if you're going to have your slow moving vehicle on a road at night, hang an orange triangle on it. (You know, just like an unlit tractor.)

It's not an egregious request to have someone make themselves visible.

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Re: Amish Buggies & Orange Triangles

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Thu Jan 12, 2012 3:57 pm

Remember_Me wrote:Does their religious freedom trump our rights to travel roadways as safely as possible?

In the first place, driving a car on a public roadway is not a right, it's a privilege granted by the State. In the second place, their religious freedom apparently hasn't trumped jackshit if they're being fined and sent to jail. Not really sure what your stand is here? Should we forcibly attach triangles to their buggies? Run'em out of town? What?

So while I agree that the Amish kinda suck for endangering us all for their nutty religious beliefs, I also agree with Esmond that paying attention is your best defense. Heck, it's your only defense as long as they're willing to take their lumps when they flout the law.

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Re: Amish Buggies & Orange Triangles

Postby dave esmond » Thu Jan 12, 2012 4:37 pm

Petro wrote:It's a good neighbor thing - if you're going to have your slow moving vehicle on a road at night, hang an orange triangle on it. (You know, just like an unlit tractor.)

It's not an egregious request to have someone make themselves visible.


For me to be a good neighbor I need to pay more attention in areas where the Amish might be so I don't run into a large horse drawn vehicle that is difficult but not impossible to see after dark. Just like I have to pay attention to all the other much smaller unlit and unmarked stuff that might be in the road.

For the Amish to be a good neighbor they'd have to violate a core belief that they hold central to their way of life. A belief they're willing to go to jail to not violate.

What core beliefs are you willing to give up to be a good neighbor? Any? Then cut the small number of Amish out after dark a little slack and slow down and watch for them in the small area they travel.

It's not a big enough deal for me to ask someone to violate a core belief. Maybe if they were everywhere on every road. But they're not.

Personally I've got a lot of respect for people who have beliefs they're willing to go to jail to defend even if I don't agree with them.

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Re: Amish Buggies & Orange Triangles

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Thu Jan 12, 2012 4:42 pm

dave esmond wrote:Personally I've got a lot of respect for people who have beliefs they're willing to go to jail to defend even if I don't agree with them.

So do I, but boy do I wish theirs weren't so damn stupid. I admire much of the Amish lifestyle, but not at all the reasons why they've adopted it.


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