LITTLE VALLEY, N.Y. (WIVB) - Sheriff's deputies on the southern tier want drivers to be more aware of horse-drawn buggies.
The Amish population has been growing, and the Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Office believes that is contributing to a rise in car-buggy accidents, including in communities outside the traditional Amish areas in western Cattaraugus County, such as Chautauqua, Allegany and Wyoming counties.
Accident investigators say most of the crashes they see are the drivers' faults. Either they're not paying attention, they're speeding, or they come up and over a knoll and all of a sudden, the buggy's right there in front of them.
These accidents almost always result in someone on the buggy, or the horse, being hurt or killed. Just like farm equipment, buggies have every right to use the road - they just have to have a reflective, "slow-moving vehicle" emblem on the back.
Capt. Robert Buchhardt of the Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Office said, "You've got to remember, you have a slow-moving buggy here that's being, generally, pulled by one horse, that's moving 5-, 7-miles an hour. And a lot of the roads, they can't ride the shoulder. They're entitled to use the road. It's perfectly legal. [Drivers] have to be aware that these people are out there, and they need to be just doggone careful of them."
He adds drivers should get used to seeing Amish buggies on all country roads and slow down when they're coming over a hill or around a curve where they really can't see ahead.
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