Record-Eagle readers get a taste of Amish life every Saturday through a syndicated column penned — literally — by Old-Order Amish cook Lovina Eicher.
She always includes family news, looping in family connections throughout our state and region. This includes untimely deaths caused by crashes on the shoulders of regional roadways — and it happens much too often in our state.
A week ago, a family of four was hit in a buggy. All were airlifted to the hospital.
In July, six children were injured in a vehicle-buggy crash, one critically.
In June, three children were killed after a drunk driver drove into the back of their buggy. All in Michigan alone — which hosts the sixth-largest Amish population in country, according to the Detroit Free Press.
The roster goes on — an Amish child was killed in a buggy in 2017; a family of three were hit the previous year.
And the pain goes on too, for everyone involved in these horrific, unnecessary crashes.
Amish choose to lead a quieter life with fewer distractions.
That they are being hit by cars with drivers too distracted by their phones, radios and video players says something about both us and them.
And that’s just half the problem. The percentage of speeding, tailgating, chance-taking drivers has risen noticeably on local roads in the last five years.
We’re pleased to see that a community is trying to get our attention.
Eighteen horse-and-buggy signs will be installed around a new Amish settlement near Bear Lake and Kaleva. The effort was led by an area woman who said she was startled when she came over a hill and nearly hit a buggy.
“In the snow it was even harder to see them,” said Linda Little, who started the Signs for Safety citizens group.
Nine Amish families arrived in the area on August 2018. They’ve built homes, barns and schoolhouses. A church is in the works and more families will move to the area this fall.
We need to keep an eye out for them — but also for anyone who shares the public roadway with us.
Our cars are considered by law to be dangerous weapons, especially in distracted hands. That’s proving too true for our Amish neighbors.