HONK IF YOU ARE AMISH


Amish horse and buggy

HONK IF YOU ARE AMISH

That is meant to be sort of a joke for you see most Amish buggies and wagons don’t have horns on them. However I think the real intent of this “non-joke” is to try to get those Amish folks who have cars they keep hidden in the daytime and only take them out at night to be caught off guard and get them to honk if they see the bumper sticker which says this. I have something in mind concerning riding our trikes around horses, but before getting to it I want to say this about the Amish … The really sad part of it all is they are in legalistic bondage of their own making and don’t even realize it. They live without modern conveniences thinking that in doing so it is pleasing to God and makes them more acceptable to Him. They fail to understand that God does not care about the things we have. What He cares about is the things that have us. He is a jealous God and is quite insistent on having first place in our hearts and lives. And He deserves no less. And just like the Israelites the Amish find ways to “cheat” and get around some of their man made regulations. It is really quite laughable. They just don’t “get it”. Some of the stuff they engage in is superstitious. They can’t have electricity or “landline telephones” because it comes into their homes via wires. And wires are a no no because they are told that devil can enter their house thru wires. (How ridiculous!) Yet they can have gasoline engine driven generators, solar panels, cell phones, etc. as there are no wires coming into their homes from the outside world. They can’t have electric motors so they use pneumatic motors ran off of an air compressor powered by a gasoline generator. They need to spend more time prayerfully reading God’s Word (the bible) for enlightenment and understanding instead of blindly following their man made religion. Regardless of what any of us are doing in our lives there is nothing more important than our eternal souls and whether or not we miss out on God’s great love for us and what He has for us thru Jesus Christ. You can read more about it HERE.

Anyway, being in northern Indiana I don’t have far to go to encounter Amish people and their horses and buggies, etc. And occasionally I do go riding out in “Amish country” where I contend with the horrible conditions of the roads that they have destroyed with their wagons, etc. I used to have some pictures of this, but alas, I seem to have lost them. Anyway, here is one I found online. However, it is not really a bad surface like I am talking about.

damaged road surface from Amish wagons

road apples

And then there is the problem with horse manure all over the place. That is always so nice to deal with too. I really don’t understand how they get away with any of this. I think lawmakers need to crack down on them and force them to do something about the horse manure and destroying the roads. Non Amish folks are required to use catch devices with horses and so should the Amish. Also if they are going to insist on a lifestyle where they destroy the roads taxpayers paid for they ought to have to pay a special tax to repair them since they alone are doing the damage.  Those of us who drive our cars and trucks on those roads deal with damage occurring to our vehicles as a result of the bad road surfaces. But that is not what I am here to write about just now. I just had to get it off my chest so to speak.

Amish horse and buggy accident

Mixing it up with motor vehicle traffic is always a great concern and it is usually the Amish folks and the horses that come out on the losing end. It is a bad situation. But again, that is not what I want to address here. As cyclists we want others to  “Share the Road” and all of us need to share the road with whoever is out there regardless of what we are driving or riding.

Amish horse & buggy warning sign

Amish horse acting up

What I do want to talk about is some concerns we cyclists need to be aware of if we find ourselves riding and sharing the road with these folks. Horses can be skiddish and frighten when they encounter certain things. I have discovered that my flashing headlight often upsets them and can cause them to rear up and go crazy. In doing so they greatly endanger themselves, the Amish people on the buggies/wagons, anyone nearby which includes us. I had one horse go totally out of control and the Amishman struggled trying to  get the horse to settle down. He ended up having the horse pull off the road into the driveway of another Amish farm and kept going a ways down the lane away from me. I felt bad that I had caused this. I could not help but think … what if that buggy would have been filled with young children or women who didn’t have the experience and expertise that the Amishman had. That scene could have turned out much different … even tragic. So now when I go riding out in Amish countryside and see a horse and buggy/wagon coming toward me I reach out and turn my headlight off until I get passed them. It definitely has helped eliminate this scenario from being repeated. I would say that there can be other problems our trikes can cause … such as our safety flags or just the sight of something horses are not familiar with, but so far I have not seen any get too out of shape over anything other than my flashing headlight. I have had them come up behind me and pass me where my flashing taillights have been on, but that hasn’t seemed to disturb them.

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About Steve Newbauer

I have a few current blogs (tadpolerider1, navysight, and truthtoponder) so I am keeping busy. I hope you the reader will find these blogs interesting and enjoy your time here. Feel free to email me at stevenewbauer at outlook.com

Posted on April 15, 2016, in riding, safety, tadpole trikes and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Like some people who share the illness of seizures, horses are not exempt from this, and the strobing effect of a headlight can cause this illness to come on suddenly, and without warning…! As someone who grew up around horses, I know this first hand, and have even seen a horse break, and jump a fence, then jumping on top of a brand new cadillac sitting it’s rear end down on the roof, totally destroying the car.. What really sucked the car was only 20 mins. old, and it was it’s horn that spooked the horse this time, and not the strobing headlight when the car’s alarm went off…! But no one knew this till the vet arrived on the scene to tranquilize the horse who was now convulsing on the car’s hood…! It was a little funny at first being young at the time, and not knowing any better, but spent the summer alongside the vet while doing a class for the local 4H club, only to have to go out on a few calls with her (the Vet ) and seeing this numerous times… Some people on the road think it is funny to harass the Amish while they are out, and about on their horse, and buggies…! But horses have the right of way on the road in my opinion, and we need to remember these beautiful majestic animals have a right to exist without harassment as we do…!
    Armadillo Zack

  2. On our ‘bent trike trip across the country, my daughter and I had a lovely time with an outgoing Mennonite family, one of the many highlights of our trip. You can read about it here: https://trike2012.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/the-simple-life/

    One of the things I like most about the Mennonite in southeastern Pennsylvania is their fearless embrace of a car-free culture. Sure, they may have a Cadillac stashed away in a barn somewhere, not that different than my occasional use of a car, but what I saw was the use of non-motorized transportation on public roads at a massive scale. Not just horse-drawn buggies, but all manner of bikes as well. It’s a beautiful thing.

    Flashing headlights aren’t just an issue with horses. Bike headlights sold in the US make no attempt at controlling the insanely bright pattern of these new LED technologies, making it easy to blind oncoming traffic. And flashing has been shown to impair the observer’s ability to distinguish distance and closing rate. To say nothing of the seizure risk pointed out by Armadillo Zack. I think the Germans have it right by requiring lights to not blink, and the headlight pattern to be focused on the road instead of the eyes of oncoming travelers.

    Poop aside, I don’t see a big distinction between a horse-drawn buggy and a trike on a public roadway. I don’t recall seeing any poop on the roadway in my travels through Pennsylvania, maybe the Mennonite are more considerate than the Amish?, but I think I’d take a little horse poop over the noise and exhaust of a car. Your picture of the buggy accident looks tragic, but of course bikes, trikes, and even automobiles are not immune to such a fate. I bet the presence of buggies on the roadways enables a safer environment for your trike. Most attempts to increase the safety of one will help the other.

    Special taxes for operating buggies on public roadways? Careful what you wish for. For militant motorists, that’s one of the first knee-jerk reactions to bikes that get in their way. This view ignores several realities, one of which is that it’s not bikes or even small cars that do most of the damage to our roadways. It’s big trucks, many of which would be better served riding atop a rail car on our massive but crumbling national railway system. But that’s a different rant. I don’t see how a buggy would do much more damage than a small car, but maybe the horses?

    Finally, take care pointing out the superstitions in another person’s religion lest you reveal those in your own.

    • You obviously don’t live in Amish country and deal with the things I wrote of which are very real. I wish I had pictures to show how badly their farm wagons and equipment destroy the road surfaces as well as all of the horse manure all over the place.

      As to the aim of headlights … headlights pointed down at the roadway in the daytime are quite ineffective. When it is dark I would always point my headlight down on the road, but in the daytime I point it up so it is aimed at drivers’ eyes. Otherwise they are not likely to see my light. And a flashing headlight and taillight is far more visible and attention getting than a steady on light. Again, when it is dark I would not use flashing lights.

      I have no religion so your comment about pointing out superstitions doesn’t apply. I have a personal relationship with the one and only Savior, Jesus Christ … all of which is based solely on the truth found only in God’s Word. All religion is man made. God hates all religions.

      • Point taken about my experience with the Amish.

        I have no quarrel with flashing lights in daylight, though a traditional headlight/taillight combo might not be the best bet. Something very bright that radiates in all directions makes more sense to me but I don’t use such a thing. Years ago I mounted a xenon strobe atop a faired tube sticking up from the back of the trike. This seemed effective and was quite the conversation piece. Eventually vibration fatigued the aluminum post– it broke and I never bothered to replace it. I think if I were to go down this path again I’d look into attaching a small “disco ball” to my flag. That was a pretty effective technique back in my hang gliding days, and no batteries 🙂

        As for religion (or lack thereof), anyone can claim the “truth”, even the Amish you seem to mock.

      • I am all for a 360 degree strobe light and wanted to go that route myself except I couldn’t find one. I looked and looked and the only one I found I bought only to return it as it was a piece of junk.

        Sure anyone can claim they have the truth and most religions certainly do that. But only God’s Word is the Truth and we will all be judged by it. As to whether or not I am mocking the Amish that too will all come out at the judgement seat of Christ. I am fully confident that what I shared is the same thing the Lord Himself would say to them … and indeed has … in His Word. It is not about living by a bunch of “do’s and don’ts”. That is religion. Religion won’t and can’t save our souls.

  3. I didn’t have any trouble with the strobe I used but probably just got lucky. For what it’s worth, the SECO-LARM SL-126Q/C security strobe light on Amazon looks similar to the unit I used. There may be LED versions that are good enough these days and they might have a better form factor.