Horse and Buggy Travel In Waterloo Region is Common

April 14, 2016, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

A recent fatal collision north of Orangeville between a minivan and horse and buggy has highlighted the need to be vigilant when driving in rural areas.

 We are truly fortunate to live in a part of Ontario that has an extremely diverse population base. A part of that population includes a sizeable contingent of Mennonites in the central and north ends of the Region of Waterloo. Many Old Order Mennonites eschew cars and use horse and buggy as their means of transportation. Most of us who have lived and driven here for any length of time have seen them trotting at the side of the road, or on the roads depending on the shoulder conditions and widths.

Horse drawn buggies are one of the slowest vehicles on the road. They can range from open carts to closed buggies carrying up to 8 or 9 people.  The Highway Traffic Act considers the horse drawn buggies as vehicles and the rules of the road apply to them. They must stop at stop signs and obey road signage. The rules of the road around careless driving, impaired driving, dangerous driving and signalling also apply. They are exempt from slow driving rules, seat belts requirements and from restrictions about operating on the shoulders of the roads. They must display a slow moving vehicle sign of specific size.

When you see a horse drawn buggy on the road:

  • Remember and respect the horse. It’s an animal that can easily be spooked and will be unpredictable in its movement when that happens.
  • You must maintain a safe following distance
  • Only pass them when it is safe
  • Give the buggy as wide a berth as is safe. If the buggy is coming towards you pull out to the right as far as you can to give them room.
  • NEVER honk your horn or yell at the buggy when near them. You can cause the horse to spook.
  • If the horse and driver are on the roadway, on a bridge, in an intersection or round-a-bout you must treat them like a motorized vehicle and yield to them as required by law.

It may also be worth noting that the Old Order Mennonites do not participate in OHIP due to their religious convictions. When they are in a car accident they pay out of pocket for all costs including medical and hospital treatment, vet treatment, and buggy replacement.

When you are in rural areas you should be aware that there is all kinds of slow moving traffic and that speeding on the hilly curvy rural roads can have deadly results. You might have noticed that the SUV driver in this picture is breaking the law. He is passing in a no passing zone, in the presence of oncoming traffic on a bridge. His impatience could have cost many lives.

Posted under Personal Injury, Car Accidents, Drunk Driving Accidents, Spinal Cord Injury, Treatment

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Deutschmann Law serves South-Western Ontario with offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock, Brantford, Stratford and Ayr. The law practice of Robert Deutschmann focuses almost exclusively in personal injury and disability insurance matters. For more information, please visit or call us toll-free at 1-866-414-4878.

The opinions expressed here, while intended to provide useful information, should not be interpreted as legal recommendations or advice.

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