Cyclist killed in school bus crash identified

A bicyclist was killed in a crash with a school bus Thursday morning.
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The Marion County coroner has identified a bicyclist struck and killed Thursday morning by a school bus. He was identified as Neil Kelty, 23 years old, of Indianapolis.

The accident occurred at the intersection of Westlane and Ditch Roads and raises questions about the safety of the city's increasing number of bike lanes.

The school bus and Kelty were going in opposite directions. Investigators say the bus driver, 72-year-old Bessie Smith turned left across the bicycle lane and into the path of the cyclist.

"It appears as if the cyclist was in that bicycle lane, however, we have to determine what happed at the intersection," said IMPD Sgt. Kendale Adams.

Witnesses tell police the light may have been yellow. The IPS bus is operated by a private contractor and there were on students on board. Investigators say the driver was shaken, but showed no signs of impairment.

Police say it appears as if Kelty was wearing a helmet.

"We are investigating this as a tragic accident," Adams said.

In just a few years, the city has gone from almost zero to 80 miles of bike lanes. That's caused cyclists and motorists to make some changes.

Westlane is a heavily-traveled road. Cyclist Kevin Harvey knows it well.

"It's not my funnest stretch, for sure, to ride on," he said.

Once a cycling commuter, Harvey now rides his bike for fun.

"You just have to anticipate everyone making the wrong move," he said.

Cyclists praise the bike lane, saying they make roads much safer. But they're always looking drivers who see them but don't understand them, like the one who carefully passed cyclist Kevin Whited.

"Obviously she saw me, otherwise she would have hit me. But she didn't process it. She turned left in front of me and I slammed into the side of her car," he said.

Whited is the executive director of IndyCog, the city's cycling advocacy group. As more riders share more roads with motorists, Whited said the city needs to spend more, educating both to keep them safe.