Dec 27, 2012

Are there laws regarding lights on Amish buggies?

Are there laws covering lighting requirements for Amish or Mennonite buggies? If you travel US 224 and the surrounding area at night like I occasionally do, it's very difficult to see many of the buggies that travel those roads due to insufficient and inconsistent front and rear illumination. Are buggies required to have some form of headlights and taillights that conform to a set of requirements? If not, why not? — Rich in Norwalk

After spending some time looking through the Ohio Revised Code, I decided to call in some help on this one. I just couldn't seem to find the appropriate section. The folks at the Ohio Department of Public Safety, however, were able to point me to ORC 4513.11, which addresses animal-drawn or slow-moving vehicles.

It is as follows:

4513.11 Animal-drawn or slow-moving vehicles, lamps, reflectors and emblems

(A) All vehicles other than bicycles, including animal-drawn vehicles and vehicles referred to in division (G) of section 4513.02 of the Revised Code, not specifically required to be equipped with lamps or other lighting devices by sections 4513.03 to 4513.10 of the Revised Code, shall, at the times specified in section 4513.03 of the Revised Code, be equipped with at least one lamp displaying a white light visible from a distance of not less than one thousand feet to the front of the vehicle, and also shall be equipped with two lamps displaying red light visible from a distance of not less than one thousand feet to the rear of the vehicle, or as an alternative, one lamp displaying a red light visible from a distance of not less than one thousand feet to the rear and two red reflectors visible from all distances of six hundred feet to one hundred feet to the rear when illuminated by the lawful lower beams of headlamps.

4511.09 of the Revised Code, which is designed for operation at a speed of twenty-five miles per hour or less shall be operated at a speed not exceeding twenty-five miles per hour, and shall display a triangular slow-moving vehicle emblem (SMV). The emblem shall be mounted so as to be visible from a distance of not less than five hundred feet to the rear. The director of public safety shall adopt standards and specifications for the design and position of mounting the SMV emblem. The standards and specifications for SMV emblems referred to in this section shall correlate with and, so far as possible, conform with those approved by the American society of agricultural engineers.

A unit of farm machinery that is designed by its manufacturer to operate at a speed greater than twenty-five miles per hour may be operated on a street or highway at a speed greater than twenty-five miles per hour provided it is operated in accordance with this section.

As used in this division, "machinery" does not include any vehicle designed to be drawn by an animal.

(C) The use of the SMV emblem shall be restricted to animal-drawn vehicles, and to the slow-moving vehicles specified in division (B) of this section operating or traveling within the limits of the highway. Its use on slow-moving vehicles being transported upon other types of vehicles or on any other type of vehicle or stationary object on the highway is prohibited.

In addition to the lights described in this division, farm machinery and motor vehicles escorting farm machinery may display a flashing, oscillating, or rotating amber light, as permitted by section 4513.17 of the Revised Code, and also may display simultaneously flashing turn signals or warning lights, as permitted by that section.

(F) Every animal-drawn vehicle upon a street or highway shall at all times be equipped in one of the following ways:

(1) With a slow-moving vehicle emblem complying with division (B) of
this section;

(2) With alternate reflective material complying with rules adopted
under this division;

(3) With both a slow-moving vehicle emblem and alternate reflective material as specified in this division.


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I know the Amish do not follow the 1,000' rule! Most don't use the SMV signs either. Don't see them til you are right up on them. Scary! Let me tell you!
I don't understand how the car drivers are almost always sighted in car/buggy accidents, when it is the buggies that are not legal....

Erie County Resident

I needed a good laugh today.. Thanks Rich.
99.9% of Mennonites drive the exact same kind of buggy you do.
It's called a car.
Amish on the other hand do drive buggies.


The Mennonites down where we live, all our neighbors, do NOT drive cars! I will say that they deck them out with bright colorful lights 'tho! should do some research before you mock....


"Cited", npt "sighted".


Excûuuuuuuuuûse me!!


ECR is actually correct, one of the major differences in the Amish and Mennonites if that the Mennonites typically drive cars and Amish still use horse and buggy. I'm sure that there are some communities of them that do not - but you may be lumping both classes into one and it may be Amish that you live near and not Mennonites.