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Boonville Daily News - Boonville, MO
  • From the Editor: Share and take care

  • Life is a delicate balance. If you're like me — whose sedentary lifestyle at the helm of the paragraph factory has lead to being a bit, say, weighty — you might want to indulge in a bit more balance. The weather's warm. Go for a walk at lunchtime. It's ...
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  • Life is a delicate balance.
    If you're like me — whose sedentary lifestyle at the helm of the paragraph factory has lead to being a bit, say, weighty — you might want to indulge in a bit more balance. The weather's warm. Go for a walk at lunchtime.
    It's that balance that keeps life going. We use it to better ourselves, our community and coexist with each other.
    It's safe to say the balance between the Amish community and Cooper County needs a bit of attention. For a city like Boonville to have a dedicated horse hitch at the local Walmart suggests that sort of balance, but perhaps that's not the case.
    Since March, I've reported on two vehicle-on-buggy accidents in Cooper County alone. A cursory internet search suggests similar incidents in Pike County and Webster County in the same time frame.
    According to Don Kraybill's "The Riddle of Amish Culture," Missouri isn't near the top of Amish population. We fall sixth, behind Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan. Accordingly, accident rates there are much higher.
    On Missouri Highways, buggies are classified as non-motorized vehicles, largely the same way a bicycle would be. Most bicyclists have the sense to migrate to slower roads, but often buggies don't have the same luxuries, since Amish communities are only accessible through far-flung highways with speeds rivaling the Autobahn.
    Still, buggies have the same rights and duties of a motor vehicle (Missouri Revised Statute 307.188). Motor vehicles must leave a safe distance when overtaking them on a roadway. And if it is a single lane road with no shoulder and this is violated, the driver is guilty of an infraction (Missouri Revised Statute 304.678).
    Some groups of Amish, such as the Swartzentruber, do not believe in safety reflectors on their buggies. For the most part, though, Amish keep their buggies visible. Still, accidents happen.
    What can we do? Slow down, pay attention and coexist. It's hard enough to read about another accident like this, and it pains me to write them like I had to do yesterday.
    It's all a balance of coexistence.
     
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