FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) -- Karen Kaehr frequently rides her bike on Fort Wayne’s trails, and she’s almost been hit crossing the road many times.
“I’m very cautious, I look both ways, but you’ll start and sometimes you’ve got a car coming 30-35 miles an hour, and you’re not sure if they’re going to stop while you’re in the crosswalk,” she said.
She was sad but not surprised Thursday when she rode up on the Carroll Road crosswalk moments after 63-year-old Leisa Elser-Patrick was struck and killed by a car.
She’s biked the crossing since then, and has been extra cautious.
“[Monday] when I rode, a lot of people wanted to stop for me,” she said. “I don’t. I stop back and I wave them on. I will not cross in front of a car.”
Megan McClellan, the executive director of Fort Wayne Trails, said drivers often want to be nice and let people cross.
But that’s not what’s supposed to happen.
“Trail users should wave the car on,” she said. “People have had good luck with looking away, acting like they’re doing something else so that the car doesn’t think they’re about to cross”
As trail users approach the crosswalk, they’ll see a stop sign and a red flashing light.
Drivers on the other hand will see a yellow flashing light, meaning proceed with caution.
Trail users are supposed to stop and wait for traffic to clear before crossing.
But that changes if someone has already started to cross the road.
“If a pedestrian or bicyclist is in the roadway and the vehicle comes upon them, then the vehicle has to yield the right of way to them,” Chief Deputy Tory Hershberger with the Allen County Sheriff’s Department said.
In Thursday’s incident, the sheriff’s department says a truck stopped for Elser-Patrick but a car went around the truck and hit her in the crossing.
The investigation is ongoing.
“Could [the driver] be cited? Certainly, they could be cited,” Hershberger said. “But there could be other more severe charges as the investigation unravels and unwinds.”
Kaehr hopes trail users and drivers can learn from what happened.
“Just educating the people that are using the trails, how to use the trails,” she said. “That you don’t let traffic stop and you keep them moving, that can eliminate a lot of our problems.”
McClellan says she is receiving feedback from the community about these crossings and will take that input to the city and county, which owns the trails.
You can submit comments to Fort Wayne trails here or call (260) 969-0079.