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Trail safety a concern as summer approaches

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- With spring upon us, authorities are warning people to be careful when using area trails; the Monon in particular.

Officials say with more people using the trail during the summer months, the higher the chance for crime and injury.

In general, police say it’s a very safe trail, but there has been some crime recently and authorities want everyone to stay safe.

“Everybody kind of comes out of the woodwork,” said City County Council Member Colleen Fanning (R-District 2). “So you have rollerbladers, walkers, people pushing baby strollers, and bikers.”

While the Monon Trail is a high point for exercise and enjoyment, it’s a spot that can also provide a wealth of opportunity for criminals.

“Even though it’s a very safe trail, there is some isolated crime, so we just want to make sure people know how to protect themselves,” said Fanning.

You’ll recall the recent arrest of two alleged flashers targeting women on the trail. There’s also the chance for more petty crime as trail traffic picks up.

“Try to walk with a partner,” said IMPD Officer John Wall. “Have a cell phone or something available to you that you can call 911 in an emergency.”

And then there are the bikes. Officials urge riders and pedestrians to use common sense and be aware of their surroundings, especially at intersections across the trail.

“The sections where it crosses the roadway, cars have the right of way, they don’t stop for you,” said Wall.

They’re also urging drivers to be aware of more cyclists cruising through the city’s bike lanes. Contrary to popular belief, bicyclists are not required to stay in a bike lane, and can leave the designated zone for any reason.