Dusk, somewhere in Wayne County, Ohio

Amish buggy at night

Visibility at night is a big issue for Amish carriage drivers.

There are a variety of technologies employed by various Amish groups to make themselves more easily seen.  Swartzentruber Amish often use just a single lamp hung on the side of the carriage and minimal reflective tape.  SMV triangles are typically not found among the Swartzentruber-related communities.

Probably the most elaborate lighting systems I’ve noticed are those among some Amish in the Elkhart/Lagrange Counties settlement in northern Indiana.  Some employ fairly bright turn signals and highly visible blinkers.

This photo, from Wayne County, Ohio, is of a fairly basic lighting setup.  The buggy, you may notice, lacks side-view mirrors, usually indicating a lower-order group.  The center light at the top is a flashing blinker and not found on all carriages.

Bike riders, in the communities where that form of transport is allowed, usually use reflective tape and lighting as well.  Frequently on summer evenings Amish bicyclists will trail along behind a buggy, benefiting from its relatively higher visibility.

Get the Amish in your inbox

Join 15,000 email subscribers. No spam. 100% free

    Similar Posts

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    1. One thing I didn’t understand is the bicycle riders who wear a dark-colored poncho on a rainy day. I was riding in the rain near Nappanee and saw bicyclers on their way to work that were very hard to see in the rain. I wear bright yellow myself when it’s raining. Probably would be considered too showy for the Amish.

      So far no Amish person has asked me about my hub generator light. It’s made by Schmidt, a German company, and along with a good Schmidt E6 light provides good lighting. People who see me riding at night often remark on how visible I am — though I’m sure the reflective vest helps, too. I’m pretty sure buggy wheels turn fast enough to run such a thing. The good thing about the Schmidt is that it has such low friction, even when the light is turned on, that I often don’t notice it’s there. Horses wouldn’t mind it any more than I do. Other wheel generators are not that good.

      1. Katrina

        Dark Raincoats

        Regarding the dark color raingear in Nappanee: the colors bike riders probably depend on the local church district. It is possible that the riders were Old Order. My grandparents lived in Bremen, just down the road a little from Nappanee, and that region of Indiana has a fairly large number of Old Order Amish.

    2. It’s a good question. A friend wears a bright red poncho for messy work around the farm. Some probably would and some probably wouldn’t is my guess.