Schenectady County

Unfair to blame buggies for crashes

Horses have right to the road
A buggy on Route 14A in Penn Yan, N.Y., on Dec. 8, 2017.
A buggy on Route 14A in Penn Yan, N.Y., on Dec. 8, 2017.

The Jan. 13 article, “Quaint buggies among Amish, with a deadly side,” by Corey Kilcannon, New York Times Service, struck me as a case of blame-the-victim. I felt its tone was below the standard. The picture’s caption stated, “A surge in the population of Amish and Mennonites in northern New York has produced more buggies on the state’s roads, which has led to more accidents with motor vehicles.”

The author states: “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recorded 71 buggy crashes nationwide, resulting in 84 deaths, for a five-year period from 2011 to 2015.”  The “17 fatalities” in 2016 is about the same.

For perspective, an open source article out of the University of Iowa reported by Science Daily, states “in nine Midwestern states (combined) … more than 1,100 farm vehicle crashes … (occur) each year (2005-2010), often causing severe or fatal injuries.” Lighting and marking farm vehicles reduced crashes.

Fundamentally, a rear-end collision “is nearly always the striking driver’s fault.”

The “quaint buggies” article states “officials say: Vehicles zoom up behind the much slower buggies and rear-end them, often plowing right through the lightweight fiberglass or wooden coach and into the horse.”

Greer Pomeroy


Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion

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