This past year when the nation had sought to cut down government services to stretch their financial budgets, I and other citizens were worried that our back roads may not be safe to travel. Badly worn double yellow lines had all but disappeared in the middle of the road and white curb side lines were not as apparent as in other years.
However, with or without our climatic rainfall, citizens are responsible to drive 24 /7 regardless if politicians had promised to maintain the status quo, which had been a traditional feature on our roads in America for many years.
Old timers who drive our roads regularly know if veteran road supervisors and their hard workers have done an outstanding job. Or if government cuts in their township or state budgets have prevented them from maintaining very safe roads which in the Piedmont topography is always changing. Having known several township road supervisors, I have been pleased with their conscientious concern about maintaining safe roadways, being familiar with certain typical faults on their local roadways.
But more than this, the professionalism being guardians of the communities welfare, these roads supervisors and township commissioners are ultimately the first line of defense between a civilized society and inhumanity. Sharing our country roads with hundreds of Old Order Mennonite driving buggies, wagons, and farm vehicles, I know that many back roads were not meant for high speed cars to pass along hill sides which do not have wide enough shoulders to accommodate speeds that are in excess of 25 miles per hour, with an occasional bicyclist driving behind a Mennonite family.
Let alone the fact that few country roads are properly lighted at night, our vast growing population has yet to improve our roads to meet the new modern speeds at which we drive.
May all citizens in their own responsibility use the common road, and employ common sense driving courtesy.
Wise, congenial PA Dutch Road supervisors in handling property owner’s right away along our narrow country roads in the past had persuaded these citizens to allow them to maintain safer road shoulders,on which traffic could pass their roadside homes without causing fatal injuries to the many individuals who live and visit our communities- a civic humanitarian way of life!
Richard Shaner is director of the American Folklife Institute in Kutztown.