Letter — Minimum speed limits must be implemented on roadways

Published 1:28 pm Thursday, October 21, 2021

To the Editor:

While driving through this area, I have twice encountered Amish horse-drawn carriages in which I have almost hit with my car. These occurred when I suddenly came upon them while cresting a hill on both routes 24 and 60. On one of these occasions, I almost wrecked my car trying to avoid them as I only had less than a second of reaction time to swerve around them.

Eighteenth century modes of transportation do not belong on modern roadways. Not only are they endangering themselves, but they are also putting the other vehicle operators at risk as well. Our roads in this area are not designed for carriages, which travel only five to eight miles per hour which could be 50 miles an hour under the posted speed limit. There are laws that address this very thing in other areas and need to be investigated for this region.

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I have seen the Amish ride tractors on Route 15 north of Dillwyn as well as seen them operate two-stroke gas powered weed trimmers on their farms. If they indeed use internal combustion engines, then they should be required to operate motor vehicles. Our roads were engineered for motor vehicle use and cannot accommodate slow horse-drawn carriages traveling far under the posted speed limit. There are no road shoulders for them to use as they have in other Amish-populated areas such as southern Maryland, Pennsylvania and Ohio. The carriage I almost hit with my car had four young children sitting in the back of it. It was a disaster just waiting to happen.

In California where dune buggies are popular, they attach fifteen-foot fiberglass flags to them for better visibility for when they are behind the sand dunes to alert the other drivers of their location. The same should be required for these buggies so people who are cresting a hill can see if some slow-moving vehicle is ahead before they suddenly come upon them, collide with them and kill someone.

The laws of physics dictate a wooden horse carriage will lose to a fully loaded log truck or a four-door sedan every time. Let us somehow put an end to this risk.

Paul Barlow