Citing safety, Indy set to install additional protected bike lanes

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A bicyclist is still listed in very critical condition after being hit Monday morning on the city’s northeast side.

The crash happened shortly before 8 a.m. at the intersection of North Emerson Avenue and East 34th Streets.

The crash comes in the middle of National Bike Month and as the city prepares to install additional protected bikes around the city.

One of the areas is along Michigan Street on the city’s east side. It’s one of the busiest westbound streets in all of Indy, and neighbors say the intersection of Michigan and Dorman Streets is one of the most dangerous in the city.

“I’ve seen a lot of accidents down here, a lot of them,” said Damon Squires.

Squires lives near the intersection in the Cottage Home neighborhood. The dangers he sees are usually because of the train tracks and vehicle traffic. But he says bicyclists are in just as much jeopardy.

“Its pretty dangerous if you’re not paying attention, so it can be a potentially hazardous situation,” said Squires.

The city is set to install protected bike lanes in the area. They’ll run along the two-mile westbound stretch of Michigan Street from College Avenue to Rural Street, and eastbound along New York Street.

“By having those protected bike lanes in place, it provides a more inviting option that is perceived as safer for bicyclists,” said Scott Manning with the Indianapolis Department of Public Works.

The lanes will be similar to the ones installed four years ago in Fountain Square. DPW officials say they’ve not only seen an increase in bike usage, but a decrease in vehicle versus bike crashes.

“They really have cut down on crashes with automobiles, or conflicts as I call them,” said Kevin Whited, the executive director of the bicycle advocacy group, INDYCOG.

The lanes are designed with a curb separating the bike and vehicle lanes.

While the area where the man was hit isn’t slated to have the lanes installed, DPW says they’ll likely be included in city planning going forward.

“What we’re seeing, not only in Indianapolis but in cities across the country, is a movement towards more protected bike lanes,” said Manning.

The city says construction is set to begin on the lanes by late August, and is supposed to take a few months.

INDYCOG says in the meantime bicyclists should obey all traffic signals, and they also suggest you wear bright helmets and reflective gear.

 

 

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