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IMPD hosting workshop to prevent crime, injuries on Monon Trail

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – IMPD is teaming up with city leaders to make sure people are keeping themselves and each other safe while enjoying trails and bike lanes.

City County Councillor Colleen Fanning, whose district is on Indy’s north side, wants to empower the people in her area to know how to protect themselves.

After a couple conversations with IMPD, they’re getting started with a popular spot that weaves through the city.

“Amazing, this is a California day,” said Mary Gothi as she walked along the Monon Trail with her husband and two grandchildren Tuesday.

If she considers the blue skies and warm temperatures as West Coast weather, then the trail was dealing with Los Angeles-like traffic.

“It’s busy,” said her husband Dave.

“Yes, very busy,” added Liz Navarre, who was walking the trail with sister and their dogs. Cyclists, walkers, and runners packed the Monon, especially in the Broad Ripple area. That congestion unfortunately led to some close calls for Gothi.

“Just now we were walking, a guy came flying by me on his bike and if I had just even turned to the left a little bit he would have slammed into me,” she said.

Trail etiquette isn’t something everyone walking or riding the path knows well, but IMPD is aiming to change that.

“I think it’s important for us to educate the public as much as possible to keep them safe and to keep our cyclists safe on the road,” said IMPD North District Commander Chris Bailey.

Next month, he will help host a Monon Trail safety workshop. It’s part one of a three-part series Fanning helped come up with called Your World: Safer.

One element is teaching people to not make themselves easy targets for crime like when they’re wearing head phones.

“You don’t hear things like you should and you’re focused in on what you’re doing right then and there, riding the bicycle, maybe not paying attention to what’s going on around you,” Bailey said. He added that the good thing crime rarely happens on the trail. He said it typically is a robbery that happens around 3 a.m. involving a victim who was walking alone.

Because of that, the workshop will also focus keeping people from getting hurt. Crosswalks are frequently a problem area. One sign tells trail users to stop but another signs tell drivers to yield, so who is supposed to stop?

“We thought that [drivers] were supposed to stop, so it would probably help to have some clarification on that,” Gothi said.

Bailey said trail users must stop first because traffic flow must continue. Even though he said it’s natural for drivers to give trail users the right of way, it could lead to traffic backups, especially during rush hour.

It’s one of the many rules he and other city leaders hope to clear up at the workshop.

“I think general awareness is great and any information they can provide on how to stay safe on the Monon is also a useful tool to all the individuals that use the trail,” Navarre said.

Bailey said the workshop will also touch on bike lane safety for bicyclists and drivers.

The workshop will be held April 12 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Indianapolis Art Center. Later in the year, IMPD will host workshops on burglary prevention and how to avoid package and vehicle theft.

Other organizers of the safety series include the Broad Ripple Village Association, Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, IndyCOG, CPTED and District 2 Neighborhoods and Crime Watches.