When most people think of the Mennonites or the Amish, the first image perhaps is a horse and buggy. However recently while traveling through the Amish/Mennonites area of Central Pennsylvania in Lancaster County, I noticed the actual mode of transportation for many is a bicycle. I found this surprising and very refreshing.
In addition to bicycles, a number of Amish use scooters for transportation. Bicycles, scooters, and horse and buggy are all generally permissible within the Amish belief system. When I researched this further I found that in general the Amish are not permitted to use a bicycle but the Mennonites are. The reasons for this would be outside the scope of this blog.
On a yearly basis, there is conflict (and crashes) between the horse and buggies of the Amish and Mennonites and motor vehicles. It occurred to me how this friction is analogous to the friction cyclists have with motor vehicles. It is very difficult for people to accept and get along with anything that is different from themselves. Obviously this is much more pronounced with the Amish, but certainly every biker has experienced motor vehicles yelling profane words to them or nearly hitting them.
In Lancaster County, there are many signs that remind everyone to look out for Horse and Buggy. I believe this same sign for bicycles should be prominent on all roads. I am sure this simple reminder would save lives!
Hopefully, we all can share the roads safely this summer: Bicycles, Buggies and Motor Vehicles!!
Ride. Have Fun. Be Safe.