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Old 06-23-05, 09:10 PM   #1
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Pennsylvanians, what's the protocol?

A new one for me. Riding down the boulevard, it's two lanes in each direction. I'm in the bike lane. There's a horse and carriage in the right lane. Wasn't sure what the protocol was. If I stay in the bike lane would the horse freak out with me on one side of him and cars on the other? Why wasn't the horse and carriage in the bike lane? Tractors certainly would have been. Anyway, I was pretty scared of the horse (I'm not a horse person, man those things are big, I think it was a Clydesdale) so I passed it on the left out in traffic. What are you supposed to do? Was the driver leaving the bike lane open for me?
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Old 06-23-05, 11:55 PM   #2
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Any horse that's out in traffic daily will be used to just about anything. I'd not worry. Yes, horses are big. And some do freak out if they're not used to seeing bikes, I learned when I was a kid.
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Old 06-24-05, 04:01 AM   #3
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Here's how we do it in Washington, at least the few of us that have actually seen horses on the road...

1. Slow and ask the owner if it's ok to pass and how they want you to pass.
2. Dismount and walk the bike while speaking slowly and quietly to the horse. Horses are prey animals so don't make any sudden moves and don't touch the horse unless you're sure it can see you.
3. After you get a safe distance past the horse, you can continue your ride.

Since horses are prey animals, it's important to follow the guidelines and do everything you can to not spook the horse. A spooked horse might end up running over you, throwing its passenger off/out of the carriage, or both. But, don't let this scare you -- tame horses are never dangerous spontaneousely, only if they're spooked, and a horse that's out on the road shouldn't be easily spooked and people-safe.

However, It's understandable to be frightened... is there a way you could move laterally one block to avoid the situation?
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Old 06-24-05, 04:13 AM   #4
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If I am to make an assumption you were riding right in the heart of
'Amish Country' ?? This is where I live too.......
The horses that pull these buggies are for the most part immune to any
noises or motions that might bother other horses. The Amish farm land
is being overrun by bad development combined with a massive influx of
Cadillacs and SUV's with Jersey and New York plates doing all manner
of stupid and inconsiderate stuff to tham every weekend as they troll
around at 5mph in gawk mode. HarleY Cro-Mags with open pipes add to
this weekend wonderfullness.
The buggies and horses have adapted to this declassse' plague accordingly.
I just go around giving a lot of room more out of respect than fear of
spooking a horse. A little wave too just to be neighborly.
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Old 06-24-05, 06:35 AM   #5
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Amish also have plenty of bikes, push scooters, and rollerblades around as well. The Amish bike riders aren't in 'screaming neon team wear' though.
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Old 06-24-05, 10:55 AM   #6
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I gota split hairs here:

1 Most Amish orders (there are many) do not allow bicycles. They have buggies and non-motorized scooters, but no bikes. If you see some "old fashioned" dressed people on bikes, they are probably Mennonites, not Amish.

2 The horses that pull the buggies are usually Standardbred Ė which is the bread that pull sulkies (one manned carts) at the race track. When their racing days are over the Amish get them. My wife owns an x-sulky racer too. Standardbred are much smaller than Clydesdales, but I guess any horse looks big to someone who is not used to them. Most Amish buggy horses are bomb proof. Itís not likely that you would spook it.

3 Finally, Pa traffic law says that slower traffic keeps to the right, faster traffic passes on the left. Thatís what the buggy driver and horse are used to. I have overtaken many Amish buggies on my rides with no problems.
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Old 06-24-05, 11:01 AM   #7
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Here's how we do it in Washington, at least the few of us that have actually seen horses on the road...
That's what I would do for a regular horse and rider on a small road or trail. Amish buggy horses are trained to handle almost anything. If they are on the road, it's safe to assume that you can pass them without problems. The most I would do is- if you are coming up from behind, make enough noise so the horse and rider know you are coming. Remember that the buggy wheels do not have rubber on them so they are noisy. The buggy driver may not hear you unless you are loud enough.
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Old 06-24-05, 11:31 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by sbhikes
A new one for me. Riding down the boulevard, it's two lanes in each direction. I'm in the bike lane. There's a horse and carriage in the right lane. Wasn't sure what the protocol was. If I stay in the bike lane would the horse freak out with me on one side of him and cars on the other? Why wasn't the horse and carriage in the bike lane? Tractors certainly would have been. Anyway, I was pretty scared of the horse (I'm not a horse person, man those things are big, I think it was a Clydesdale) so I passed it on the left out in traffic. What are you supposed to do? Was the driver leaving the bike lane open for me?

Proper protocal is always to pass on the left.
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Old 06-24-05, 11:33 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeR
I gota split hairs here:

1 Most Amish orders (there are many) do not allow bicycles. They have buggies and non-motorized scooters, but no bikes. If you see some "old fashioned" dressed people on bikes, they are probably Mennonites, not Amish.

2 The horses that pull the buggies are usually Standardbred Ė which is the bread that pull sulkies (one manned carts) at the race track. When their racing days are over the Amish get them. My wife owns an x-sulky racer too. Standardbred are much smaller than Clydesdales, but I guess any horse looks big to someone who is not used to them. Most Amish buggy horses are bomb proof. Itís not likely that you would spook it.

3 Finally, Pa traffic law says that slower traffic keeps to the right, faster traffic passes on the left. Thatís what the buggy driver and horse are used to. I have overtaken many Amish buggies on my rides with no problems.

I don't know anything about this... but why do Amish not allow bicycles? Would a hand built bike be acceptable? How about wooden?
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Old 06-24-05, 05:12 PM   #10
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I am actually in Santa Barbara, not Amish country, but I figure if anybody has experience with this, it's people living in Amish country. It seemed a little strange because the buggy was purposefully NOT in the bike lane, but out in the right lane, going about as slow as a horse possibly can. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to use the bike lane, or risk it out in the left lane with all the cars (who were going 45). If they really are "bomb-proof", then maybe he was holding the bike lane open for me. Do you think so?
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Old 06-24-05, 05:37 PM   #11
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Please ask him and report back.
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Old 06-24-05, 07:51 PM   #12
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Why would a horse and carriage use the bike lane? It's for bikes. Even if it was legal for carriages to use it, which it isn't, carriages are too wide and would protrude into the next lane. This would create a dangerous situation where motorists feel they can squeeze past without leaving the lane, even when there isn't really enough room. He's taking the lane for the same reason a cyclist would.
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Old 06-25-05, 10:15 AM   #13
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I guess I figured he'd use the bike lane because tractors do. They right as far to the right as they can. Also, the carriage was only taking the right-most portion of the lane, not the whole lane. The whole situation just wasn't clear. We don't get many horse and buggies around here.
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Old 06-25-05, 10:47 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbhikes
I guess I figured he'd use the bike lane because tractors do. They right as far to the right as they can. Also, the carriage was only taking the right-most portion of the lane, not the whole lane. The whole situation just wasn't clear. We don't get many horse and buggies around here.
Its culture colliding here.
The Amish are in thier own little world. literally. I really cant see an Amish buggy driver
even being aware of what a bike lane is. A lot of the buggie drivers are 12 years old and
brought up in a way that purposely keeps them isolated from the world we know.
The problem is as I explained earlier that people come to gawk at them like they are circus freaks.
We have turned their once slow, peaceful and serene way of life into absolute chaos.
They need to do what they have to do to keep thier families safe in the buggies. If they were
to not ride in the few bike lanes in Lancaster they would have traffic backed up for miles and
suffer the wrath of an irate Jerseyite in a Cadillac on the prowl for real Amish this and real Amish
that. The residents here really dont have a problem with slowing down for the buggies and realize
we are incroaching on them. It is the influx of the people every weekend from Jersey, New york and Delaware who slow down for car crashes too who have the problem dealing with them.
It was enough of a fight to get them to light the buggies at night that this doesnt seem like a
real issue in comparison if you live here and have learned to coexist with them.
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Old 06-25-05, 12:08 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by -=£em in Pa=-
The Amish farm land
is being overrun by bad development combined with a massive influx of
Cadillacs and SUV's with Jersey and New York plates doing all manner
of stupid and inconsiderate stuff to tham every weekend as they troll
around at 5mph in gawk mode. ........If they were to not ride in the few bike lanes in Lancaster they would have traffic backed up for miles and suffer the wrath of an irate Jerseyite in a Cadillac on the prowl for real Amish this and real Amish that..
Lem, I really like your small minded additude. Actually the only reason that they don't have any trouble with Pennsy drivers is that they are all down in my town acting like *******. LOL
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Old 06-25-05, 01:42 PM   #16
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Lem, I really like your small minded additude. Actually the only reason that they don't have any trouble with Pennsy drivers is that they are all down in my town acting like *******. LOL

Im sorry your offended by my real, true life observations.
I live here and this is what I see. If You are not here doing that stuff there is
no need to take offense at these observations. But in fairness I suppose any tourist trap
area in any state suffers the same stuff. I will agree also that the Pennslyvanians
I know who willingly pilgramige to Jersey to do the 'down da shore' thing are not the ones we
like here either. To be even more fair about it, I have mentioned in these forums on more than
one occasion that NY, Jersey and PA drivers are unequivocally, together, the most dangerous
and inconsiderate drivers on the East Coast. Again...sorry for smallminded broadbrush
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Old 06-25-05, 02:40 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by -=£em in Pa=-
To be even more fair about it, I have mentioned in these forums on more than
one occasion that NY, Jersey and PA drivers are unequivocally, together, the most dangerous
and inconsiderate drivers on the East Coast.
I absolutly agree with that. As a former PA person I know how they drive on both sides of the Delaware.

It's really funny how each part of the country has its own group to pick on. In the North East all the jokes are (name your own minority). When I was cycling across Minnisota and North Dakota all the jokes and prejudice was against Norwegins.
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Old 06-25-05, 05:30 PM   #18
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This guy in Santa Barbara wasn't Amish. I just figured if anybody else in the USA had any experience riding around horses and buggies, they'd be people in Amish country. This guy was one of those guys you rent for an hour or whatever. I'd never seen him on the road before, though. I'd have asked New Yorkers but nothing in New York is anything like anything in Santa Barbara.
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Old 06-25-05, 07:06 PM   #19
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I passed a horse and buggy with a young driver today going the opposite way as I suffered up a hill.

The exchange was classic Penna. Dutchy-English, starting with me:

He. (soft "e")
Hard work.
Ya, lucky you havehorse.

The horse was blinkered. In the days before blinders, well, there's a reason we have old bridges covered. Today's horses are either blinkered or hardcore.
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Old 06-25-05, 07:52 PM   #20
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Today's horses are either blinkered or hardcore.
The Menonites that allow the bicycles are the ultimate, hardcore commuters !
You will see a women in a full, long , American Gothic style dress peddling a black
single speeder up hills on 772 and on dirt roads with a HUGE, chicken coup, box type thing
on the back ! YIKES !!! .....And to think I whine about my backpack
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Old 06-26-05, 12:44 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by -=£em in Pa=-
The Menonites that allow the bicycles are the ultimate, hardcore commuters !
You will see a women in a full, long , American Gothic style dress peddling a black
single speeder up hills on 772 and on dirt roads with a HUGE, chicken coup, box type thing
on the back ! YIKES !!! .....And to think I whine about my backpack
The hills aren't quite so bad there as in the southern end or up near the Lebanon border. I'd pay to see a Mennonite woman climb Texter Mtn. Road or Turkey Hill in conservative garb.
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Old 07-02-05, 12:07 PM   #22
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Lancaster County girl born and bred chiming in here...can't believe I missed this post!

Ditto what the MikeR, "Lem", and Pseudo put out there...people around here are used to the buggies and the horses are used to us. They wouldn't be in the "bike lane" around here because, frankly, I'm not sure we actually have what you call "bike lanes". We have some road shoulders full of potholes and gravel in most places.

Have any of you thought it was curious how sbhikes turned to folks in PA for a horse/buggy question? Apparently our reputation is such across the country that we are a simply a bunch of rural folks who are, naturally, the experts on all rural road questions. I'm not sure whether to feel flattered or insulted...

Living now in the Hershey area, I have to chime in on the driver debate: We have more than our share of visitors to the area, most of whom are NJ, NY, MD...doesn't matter where they're from. The point is that anyone driving in an unfamiliar area tends to be driving in a little bit of a fog, trying to find their way. They're also more likely to bend the traffic laws a little for whatever reason, just to get where they're going. I call it "tourist mentality", which renders them somewhat blameless; and I also know that they are to be watched carefully when riding or driving near to them.

B
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Old 07-02-05, 02:11 PM   #23
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I can't let the Pennsylvanians have all the glory on this one (although I was born in Delaware County) -- I think Ohio still has the largest Amish population in the country, although it's more spread out than in SE Penn.

Shameless my-state-is-better-than-your-state attitude aside, passing horses and buggies on the left is the law here. I try to pass as far left as possible, at a speed not much greater than the horse/buggy, and I usually call out, "On your left," to let the driver know I'm there.

Beware of taking a draft off one of these things. The exhaust is killer.
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