While you won’t see an Amish horse and buggy in New York City soon, New York traffic law is New York traffic law. The same rules-of-the-road that apply in upstate New York also refer to the wheels and animals seen in and around Central Park.
State officials admit to scant statistics about buggy-to-bumper accident. Sgt. Bernard Kennett, the New York State Police officer, devoted to dealing with Amish buggy concerns, says there are now more horse-drawn buggies than ever on New York’s highways.
When it comes to Amish buggy drivers, it is hard to find one who hasn’t been in an accident or mishap. Buggy drivers — including the ones around Central Park — want fast horses, used to distraction and able to focus. They tend to often buy former harness racing horses at auction.
In 2016, New York City’s Mayor, Bill de Blasio decided to charge forward and corral Central Park’s horse and carriages. Sources reported the Mayor’s aides tried to push a new plan through City Council where members were amazed and angry at being pulled into the perennial and contentious debate.
De Blasio believed he had managed to work out a scheme revamping the popular attraction. The central keystone was a reduction in licenses issued and moving the horses from Midtown streets. The union threatened to pull out of the area 24-hours before the council could vote, so any action was tabled.
Under the new plan, the city administration would not bar ‘pedicabs’ from Central Park below 85th Street, but the carriage rides may become forbidden. But no one is sure. Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said the council would continue to move forward and not introduce any “horse-carriage bills.”
The statutes are codified in the “Vehicle and Traffic Law, Article 34B, Sections 1260 through 1265.
The laws apply to individuals riding or leading horses and spell out what must be worn, where the horse can be ridden or driven — in the case of a carriage-horse combination. The balance of the laws and statutes can be found here.