INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — About two people are hit by cars daily in Indianapolis, according to numbers compiled by the group Indy Pedestrian Bicyclist Safety Crisis.
Now the group wants to know what the candidates for the city council are going to do about it.
Aaron Short is a bicycle mechanic who fixes bicycles after people get into accidents with cars. “At least every two weeks we see at least one.”
In 18 years of fixing bikes, Short has seen a number of injuries. “I’ve seen it as bad as death from casts, broken bones, broken bikes.”
The problem is not just bikes.
According to the Indy Pedestrian Bicyclist Safety Crisis Group, pedestrians and bicycles were hit 453 times in 2022. Of these, 43 were fatal.
So far in 2023, the city has had 68 incidents with five deaths.
When Short sees those numbers, he said he thinks of “a way to try to do better.”
That’s one reason why the pedestrian group sent questionnaires to every candidate running for city office, to see what they would do to improve safety.
Short told I-Team 8 he has some ideas of his own that he says will improve both pedestrian and bicyclist safety on the roads. “I think the sidewalks will be huge. Stop signs at all those Monon (trail) crossings, because a lot of times people blow right through them.”
Short says he and other pedestrians will care about how the candidates answer the questionnaires.
“I think it’s huge, especially working with it. I hate seeing people get hurt and then they lose their bike, or a hit-and-run, you know? I would care a lot about that to make sure people are taken care of.”
The Indy Pedestrian Bicyclist Safety Crisis group compiles the responses to the questionnaires from the candidates. The deadline for candidates to respond is March 24.
Meanwhile, I-Team 8 reached out to several Indianapolis candidates.
“Mayor Joe is aware of the Indy Bike and Pedestrian Safety group and appreciates the advocacy of community members on the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists. Mayor Joe shares their concerns and is committed to addressing the alarming trend of increased incidents and fatalities. We plan to answer the questionnaire.”
A spokesperson for Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, a Democrat seeking re-election
“The simple fact is that nearly 2,000 miles of our roads in Indianapolis do not have sidewalks, which means that children walking to the park or men and women trying to catch the bus to work end up walking in the road. I will unveil a bold new plan in the coming weeks to install miles of much-needed public sidewalks across Indianapolis and adopt a citywide plan for safe sidewalks—especially in neighborhoods and along school bus routes.I also want plans to better protect cyclists in Indianapolis. »
State Representative Robin Shackleford, a Democrat running for mayor of Indianapolis
“This edition combines two areas of our campaign platform, public safety and public works. Citizens should not have to worry when they go for a walk or bike ride. Part of my plan includes working with the legislature to dedicate a dime from either the sales tax on gasoline or gas tax to improve streets and sidewalks so pedestrians and bicyclists don’t have to worry while out and about.In addition, we should increase our efforts to apply for federal funding as well to help alleviate the problem and make the streets , our paths and sidewalks safer.
“And beyond making sure we have the safe infrastructure to support pedestrians and bicyclists, common traffic offenders must be taken seriously — all too often the person behind the wheel in these situations is a driver with a history of DUIs and other traffic violations. I will use the mayor’s office to build bridges between public safety and criminal justice stakeholders and advocate for meaningful accountability for those who have shown dangerous recklessness that endangers our pedestrians and bicyclists.”
Abdul-Hakim Shabazz, a Republican running for mayor of Indianapolis
“Pedestrian and cyclist safety is a concern the council shares with our constituents and my colleagues and I are committed to ensuring our city streets are safe for everyone. That’s why in June 2022 we passed Proposition 175, 2022, which updated the city’s “complete streets” ordinance. Some of the updates included increased transparency in the planning process, more accountability and the creation of the Fatal Crash Review Team. We also worked with Mayor Hogsett to approve $443 million in 2023 capital projects for the Department of Public Works, which includes funding for new sidewalks, upgrades to new sidewalks, and trails such as the Pogues Run Trail and the Nickel Plate Trail. One of the city’s largest on-street bicycle infrastructure projects will soon take place in my district on West Michigan Street. This will include improved pavements, reduced lanes and better connectivity, which the area has not historically seen before. Everyone deserves to get to their next destination safely, whether they carpool, cycle, walk or take the bus. I look forward to continuing to engage with constituents regarding pedestrian safety.”
Vop Osili, president of the Indianapolis City-County Council and a Democrat seeking re-election to the council