Amish buggy destroyed in P.E.I. crash: 'They have a right to the road as well'
SUMMERVILLE, P.E.I. -- Some P.E.I. motorists appear to be struggling to accommodate the arrival of Amish families from southwestern Ontario, according to one Mountie who says there have been several accidents involving horse and buggies in his county alone.
"It's an ongoing concern for us. They have a right to the road as well," Const. Robert Honkoop said Thursday.
A horse-drawn buggy was destroyed Wednesday morning after colliding with a truck on a rural road in the New Perth area, near where many Amish families have bought farms in the last three years.
Honkoop said the 17-year-old male driving the truck had failed to properly clear the windshield of frost outside and steam inside, and rear-ended the carriage on Route 22.
Both male drivers were shaken, but not injured, he said. The horse was treated at the scene by a local veterinarian.
"It did have some light-to-moderate damage -- flesh wounds, if you will. But it didn't happen to be anything bone-related," Honkoop said, noting that the horse fell not to its knees but to its chest, limiting damage.
Photos released by the RCMP show a carriage in pieces at the side of the road, a cooler and other debris strewn nearby.
Honkoop said the 20-year-old buggy driver was on his way to work and was ejected from the carriage.
"Very very fortunate ... it's lucky he didn't suffer any injuries," Honkoop said.
The teen truck driver has been charged with failing to properly clear the windshield.
The Ontario Amish have been lured by low land prices and are settling in the communities of Dundas and Summerville. The first Amish baby was born on the Island in 2016 -- a girl.
A number of businesses have installed hitching posts where buggies can be parked. There are signs along local highways and roads urging caution that horses and buggies might also be present.
Honkoop said there have been two or three accidents in P.E.I.'s Kings County since the Amish began arriving.
He has seen aggressive driving from impatient drivers, honking and making inappropriate passes.
"Modern day-driving -- everybody seems to be in a rush to get somewhere. So it clearly presents as an issue."
He said he's keen on getting the message out "on the rights of slower-moving vehicles," whether bicycles or buggies.