Cornell Local Roads Program

Sharing the Roadways in Amish Country

Sharing the roadways can often be challenging in areas where shoulders are narrow and the roads are windy. In rural areas, improvements to widen shoulders or straighten roads are limited by physical constraints, available Right of Way and most often funding. To improve the safety of travel on these roadways, a simple step to ensure that everyone who uses the roadway is clearly visible day and night, provides the motor vehicle operator the opportunity to see and react accordingly.

Visibility is important to both see and to be seen. This applies to whether you are walking, bicycling or utilizing any other means of transportation. Following the rules of the road is also important and can impact the way a driver reacts to a situation. As with roadway signage, the motor vehicle operator expects certain things when encountering other travelers on the roadway. When the basic rules of the road are not followed; such as wearing visible clothing, utilizing lighting past sunset, failing to keep right, there is a substantial increase in the potential for dangerous circumstances to occur. 


The video above was developed by the Ohio State Extension Service for vehicles in Amish parts of their state. The video discusses some options and considerations that may be implemented to improve the safety of everyone traveling on the roadways in both Amish and Mennonite areas. New York may be different than in Ohio, but the similarities are great and the multiple options discussed are valid everywhere.

It is important to consider the cultural and religious differences of each community when looking to implement any of these ideas to develop the most appropriate means of improving roadway safety in your area. Sharing the roadway with various types of vehicles can often lead to crashes and these crashes can be severe when they involve the lighter horse drawn buggies, bicycles and pedestrians. This video provides some tips to help keep everyone safe while sharing the highway.

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This work by the Cornell Local Roads Program (CLRP) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.