Bishop Marvin and his wife, Stella, of the Old Order Stauffer Mennonite Church, steer their horse-drawn buggy toward church for their first in-person service since the state's COVID-19 lockdown order, Sunday, May 17, 2020, in New Holland, Pa. Credit: Jessie Wardarski / AP

Law enforcement officials in Lincoln County said they’re taking steps in response to several collisions between cars and Amish horse-drawn buggies.

Five collisions have happened since the beginning of the year in the area near Whitefield, which has a significant Amish population, Sheriff Todd Brackett said. Two of those occurred in the last month.

Brackett pointed to increased summer traffic as one possible factor — particularly on back roads with limited shoulder space.

“So drivers really have to be conscious of the fact that there’s an unusually high volume of horse-and-buggy traffic, pedestrian and bike traffic, all related to the Amish community,” Brackett said “So we just encourage drivers to be vigilant.”

Brackett said his department is stepping up speed enforcement in the area, and is also talking with the Maine Department of Transportation and area selectmen on adding more road signs to create awareness of horse-and-buggies.

“If we could pull all these things together, along with some sort of campaign to let people to know — people who are non-residents, driving through — and residents, of course, as well, they should be aware they’re likely to meet a horse-and-buggy at some point,” Brackett said.

Brackett said his department has also had recent conversations with Amish families about making their buggies more visible to motorists.

In addition to Whitefield, Amish families have also settled near Smyrna, Unity and Fort Fairfield.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.

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