INDIANAPOLIS — New data from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department shows more pedestrians are being hit and killed on city streets.
So far in 2022, IMPD says 21 pedestrians have been killed. In 2021 at this time, that number was 11 pedestrians. Three bicyclists have also been hit and killed this year, compared to two last year at this time.
The city says it is making investments like adding reflective flex posts to bike lanes, but they say the process of infrastructure updates is slow.
"One of the particular challenges is that we have this decades old infrastructure system that is being retrofit instead of some of our neighbors, for example, who are able to build some of this infrastructure,” said Ben Easley, a spokesperson for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works. “It’s much less complicated to build it new then it is to make changes as it happens. “
The following is the full data sent to us by IMPD.
Number of pedestrians fatally struck
2022 Year To Date: 21
2021 Year To date: 11
Number of bicyclists fatally struck
2022 Year To Date: 3
2021 Year To Date: 2
How many pedestrians and cyclists struck (non fatally)
2022 Year to Date: 130 Pedestrians, 42 Bikes
2021Year To Date: 120 Pedestrians 47 Bikes.
Number of hit & runs
2022 Year To Date: 3739
2021 Year To Date: 3991
Hit & run clearance numbers
2022 Year To Date: Fatal hit/run 50%
2021 Year To Date: Fatal hit/run 30%
Bike Indianapolis officials say there is one big factor they feel is creating issues with bikes and pedestrians.
"Speed and obeying the law,” said Damon Richards, the executive director of Bike Indianapolis. “The pandemic sort of emptied the streets so that people who were out driving drove much faster and as traffic has started to pick up again, they are not slowing down."
Richards says his organization has advocated at the statehouse for traffic cameras which would record people running red lights. On top of that, they pushed for legislation that would implement odometers to track driver's speed, but neither of those legislative suggestions were taken up by lawmakers. Richards also sits on the fatal crash review board.
"We are seeing it get a lot worse,” said Richards. “It is particularly worse for vulnerable users — pedestrians, cyclists, the elderly [and] the disabled. "
Cyclists like Jacob Wise say while many problems are created by reckless driving, he would also like to see more infrastructure updates.
"I’d like to see things similar in New York and Michigan where they have actually separated the bike trail or path from the road. That is smart,” said Wise, who rides his bike downtown regularly. “More bike first or pedestrian first walkways."
However, most cyclists think there needs to be more education for drivers who travel in heavily biked areas.
"When you went to drivers ed to learn how to drive a car, they didn't say anything to you about how to share the road with bicyclists and pedestrians,” said Richards. “So, there is a big education gap that needs to get filled."
The proposed city budget for 2023 includes $37 million for DPW, which would go to making trails and roadways more pedestrian-friendly. The City-County Council will vote on whether to approve that budget in October.