Gray reflective tape or orange signs: Kentucky Amish buggy fight continues
On January 12, 2012 At 10:54 am
Responses : 4 Comments
Swartzentruber Amish are one of the most conservative sects of Amish in America. They wear dark colors and drive horse and buggies to get around. They do not have telephones or indoor plumbing, and they believe that the orange triangle the state of Kentucky wants them to put on the back of their buggies is too garish, that they should rely on God, not signs to protect them on the highway, and they believe in their ways enough to fight. The Amish way of fighting is as unobtrusive as they are–passive resistance.
"We try to lead a simple, plain life," [Jacob] 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.
Every year a good number of Amish are killed and/or injured by auto/buggy collisions. It is not clear if hanging a SMV sign has any impact on whether or not the buggies are easier to see. Buggies are black, and when driven at night, often only have a lantern hanging off the front. More liberal Amish use a car battery to install vehicle lights on the back of the buggy.