Amish children in the newly-formed Whitefield, Maine community have been provided reflective armbands by state transportation officials.
At Wednesday’s meeting, which Marple said lasted about 90 minutes, the Amish received reflective armbands from the state transportation department that their children could wear when walking on the sides of the roads. Marple said the group discussed making sure the children are walking on the side of the road facing oncoming traffic, especially when going to and leaving their school on Route 218.
This is the first I’ve heard of officials providing this type of visibility gear to the Amish.
It looks like locals want to do what they can to keep their new Plain neighbors safe, as they are investigating other ways to raise awareness of the Amish in the area.
There have recently been two minor accidents in the area involving horses-and-buggies.
Not all Amish would use this type of material, but I assume that if the Amish at Whitefield are getting these armbands, this group is open enough to use them.
At least one of the families hails from Heuvelton, New York, a Swartzentruber community.
In certain communities it is quite common to see reflective vests or ankle bands for bicycle riders, which can be purchased in local shops.
The vests are clearly more visible than an armband would be. You can see examples of reflective vests in this video below of children in Lancaster County.
Another thing you can feel from this clip is a sense of how precarious traveling to school can be.
There’s not much shoulder for these children to use their scooters (if they’re walking, of course, they can get further off the road). And you can feel the contrast in speed between the vehicle and the scooters.
Lancaster County is much more populated than the Whitefield area. But on the other hand, as a long-established settlement, drivers are accustomed to an Amish presence in the area. In new settlements like Whitefield, that is not necessarily the case.
While there are plenty of examples of a more antagonistic relationship to be found between non-Amish and Amish (especially the more conservative groups), it’s nice to see that this community seems to be working together.