© 2021 Maine Public
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Police Adding More Enforcement Near Whitefield After Recent Crashes Between Cars and Horse-Drawn Buggies

Amish Buggies Triangles
Dylan Lovan
In this photo taken Dec. 8, 2011, an unmarked Amish buggy rides on U.S. 45 near Mayfield, Ky. A group of conservative Amish in Graves County have refused to hang an orange reflective triangle on their buggies, putting them at odds with police.

Law enforcement officials in Lincoln County say they're taking steps in response to several collisions between cars and Amish horse-drawn buggies.

County Sheriff Todd Brackett says the area has witnessed five collisions since the beginning of the year in the area near Whitefield, which has a significant Amish population. Two of those occurred in the last month.

Brackett points to increased summer traffic as one possible factor —particularly on back roads with limited shoulder space.

"So drivers really have to be conscious of the fact that there's an unusually high volume of horse-and-buggy traffic, pedestrian and bike traffic, all related to the Amish community," Brackett says. "So we just encourage drivers to be vigilant."

Brackett says his department is stepping up speed enforcement in the area, and is also talking with the Maine Department of Transportation and area selectmen on adding more road signs to create awareness of horse-and-buggies.

"If we could pull all these things together, along with some sort of campaign to let people to know -- people who are non-residents, driving through -- and residents, of course, as well, they should be aware they're likely to meet a horse-and-buggy at some point," Brackett says.

Brackett says his department has also had recent conversations with Amish families about making their buggies more visible to motorists.

In addition to Whitefield, Amish families have also settled near Smyrna, Unity and Fort Fairfield.