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Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
Authorities again ask that drivers be aware this holiday weekend of motorcycles, pedestrians and bicycles.

Road safety stressed for holiday weekend

– Memorial Day weekend is known for that big race in Indy.

It also means a lot more traffic and varying speeds on streets and highways.

“Motorists have to understand they’re not the only ones using a roadway; … not everybody shares the road in a responsible manner,” said Sgt. Ron Galaviz, spokesman for the Indiana State Police in Fort Wayne.

With weekend vacationers headed to lake communities and relatives’ homes in the area, cars and trucks won’t be the only vehicles on the roads.

Motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians and even golf carts, depending on where you live, will all be on the road this weekend.

In Kosciusko County, as well as the other many lake communities, the arrival of weekend visitors to the lakes can sometimes double the population of those areas, said Sgt. Chad Hill, Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department spokesman.

Today ends National Safe Boating week, but conservation officers will also be out to patrol area lakes, enforcing laws on alcohol and floatation devices.

More visitors means people on the road need to be even more vigilant.

“Vehicle traffic is going to be heavier and pedestrian traffic will be much heavier,” Whitley County Sheriff Mark Hodges said.

Whitley is one of the counties in the area where golf carts can be driven on county roads, which creates a situation where a slow-moving vehicle can encounter another vehicle traveling at full highway speeds.

Galaviz stressed that operators of any form of transportation need to be on the lookout for one another, especially when it comes to vehicles such as golf carts that can’t go fast and motorcycles, which can often be overlooked by drivers in cars and trucks.

“As the temperature warms up, Parkview Trauma Centers see a high number of trauma-related injuries that involve those riding bicycles, or motorcycles,” Lisa Hollister, program manager at Parkview Trauma Centers, said in a statement.

Parkview and the state police are promoting a “Share the Road” campaign in an effort to get drivers of any vehicle to be aware of their surroundings.

State police will conduct a sobriety checkpoint tonight in DeKalb County as part of its efforts to target intoxicated and impaired drivers.

Various police departments in Kosciusko County will also have a checkpoint in operation tonight.

Aside from the stationary checkpoint, Hill said officers will work targeted times and locations to try to get as many impaired drivers off the road.

Hill, Hodges and Galaviz encouraged anyone who sees a possibly drunk driver to call 911. Having the vehicle’s make, model, color and license plate all increase the chances police will find the vehicle.

For anyone making a long trip this weekend, Galaviz suggested a roadside emergency kit be kept in the vehicle.

Drivers traveling through construction zones on state and federal highways will not see work being done, according to the Indiana Department of Transportation, but authorities will continue to enforce speed limits in construction zones.

INDOT suggests anyone headed to Indianapolis for the Indy 500 or other events this weekend go to the state police website for up-to-date travel information.

Regardless of the distance for the trip, it will come with a price to get there.

Despite gas prices in the upper $3 range in the area, GasBuddy.com said the prices are nearly the same as those from the past two years.

The website lists the national average around $3.60 a gallon, with Fort Wayne prices ranging from $3.66 to $3.89, compared with Indianapolis, where prices range from $3.56 to $3.89.

cmeyers@jg.net

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