Woman struck, killed on north side of Indianapolis

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INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 11, 2014) - A woman was hit and killed on the north side of Indianapolis Tuesday morning.

It happened near Westlane and Township Line roads just east of Michigan Road.

Investigators told FOX59 the adult woman was walking in the bike lane when a car hit her. The driver stopped and was cooperating with the investigation, police said.

"We have to let our investigators determine, but there's nothing to this point that leads our investigators to believe there will be an arrest," said IMPD Sgt. Kendale Adams.  "Anytime an accident involves a fatal, it's state law that the person be requested to submit to a blood draw."

Police were blocking off traffic on Westlane Road from Michigan Road to Grandview Drive.  Westlane Road east of Michigan Road reopened to traffic around 9:15 a.m.

People living in the area say safety has been a concern along Westlane Road for years. In April, 24-year-old Neil Kelty was killed while riding his bike to work. He was hit by a school bus near the intersection of Westlane and Ditch roads.

Shannon Bickett says she walks to work along Westlane Road every day.

“It’s really dark," explains Bickett. "The street lights are not on. I have to use my phone to let people see me. And they need sidewalks. It’s very dangerous. Very dangerous.”

There are bike lanes on both sides of Westlane Road, but only one side has a sidewalk, and Bickett says many people living in nearby apartments would have to cross traffic to access it.

“I don’t want to be on that side of the street with all the bushes and trees," she adds. "You don’t know what might jump out of there. So yes, on this side they definitely need sidewalks.”

When a pedestrian is involved in an accident, Joan Cook, the bicycle and pedestrian coordinator at Health by Design, starts asking questions like, “Was the infrastructure available for that person, such as sidewalks or a path to walk on? Were there bike lanes?"

Cook says pedestrians can be proactive about their safety by wearing bright colors, especially during the colder months when the sun sets earlier and it remains dark longer.

“Make sure that you’re always visible, especially if it’s dark. You want to make sure that you wear clothing that is reflective and light colored, and also that you always walk facing traffic so that you can see what’s coming at you.”

Making eye contact with the driver is also a good way to make sure you've been spotted, says Cook.

“It’s always safer to cross at an intersection and cross when the lights change. If that’s not available and you’re crossing at a street where there’s not a light, you need to come up to the street and make sure that you look right, left, then right again before you cross the street.”

She says people should avoid walking in bike lanes if at all possible. “Number one, bicyclists will be coming behind you. It’s always best to walk on the shoulder of the road."

Cook says Indianapolis is on the right path when it comes to pedestrian and bicycle safety. In 2012, the city adopted the Complete Streets ordinance.

“Anytime they do major reconstruction of a roadway, they are making it safe as much as they can for all users, looking at bicyclists and pedestrians and cars," explains Cook.

Drivers also need to be extra cautious and aware of their surroundings.

Cook says, "We know that the faster that traffic is going when they hit a pedestrian, the more likelihood that they’re not going to survive that injury," she says, encouraging people to slow down and keep a watchful eye. "We’re all sharing the road.”