A new bill may require Amish buggies in Wisconsin to reduce the size of horseshoe studs in the warmer months.
Typically the spikes used in winter need to be larger to get traction in the snow and ice. It turns out this is overkill in the spring, summer and autumn. And it’s really beating up local roads.
The buggies have caused significant road damage in Eau Claire County, home to 1000+ Amish. In the story and video below, the County Highway Commissioner explains that repairs would cost $3,000/mile just for the material costs.
This is a pretty common problem in Amish areas – and one that seems to have arisen frequently in the past year.
A recently-proposed buggy registration fee in Lancaster County would go to repairing road damage. In that case the damage in question is attributed to steel buggy wheels.
In the Holmes County case, a $320,000 ODOT grant is funding a study on how to reduce buggy damage.
In Elkhart County, one of the few places where Amish buggies do carry license plates, authorities are considering increasing buggy plate fees (currently $50), which may not be covering annual repair costs.
The article notes that Amish leaders in the Eau Claire case are open to making changes to address the issue. I’d expect that this would be an area where Amish are willing to adapt with little objection.
Filing down unseen horseshoe studs does not involve adopting a visible and potentially objectionable item such as the SMV triangle or buggy license plates. Using smaller ones when they’re not needed seems like the common-sense thing to do.
Generally speaking I think Amish would be more than willing to do their part to reduce damage and contribute to repairs, especially if the damage is clearly attributable to their use of the roads.
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