Indianapolis man offers reflective vests to keep pedestrians safe

Mike Morgan offers a reflective vest to pedestrian Kevin Crowe.

An Indianapolis man is taking action to help keep pedestrians in the city safe.

The number of people hit and killed next to central Indiana roads is on a record pace this year. Metro police say at least 11 pedestrians have died in accidents so far this year, three more than all of 2012. The number of people struck and injured is much higher.

A 65-year-old woman was hit and killed Sunday morning trying to cross East 38th Street at Colorado Avenue, but it was a man killed while riding along in a wheelchair that tugged Mike Morgan to action.

"When that man got killed the other day in the hit-and-run," Morgan said. "When I saw that on the news, of course here he was out cleaning the neighborhood and, obviously, he just wasn't seen for whatever the reason."

Morgan wants to make sure he never sees a story like that again.

"That was very upsetting, him being a veteran like myself. That was very upsetting," he said.

So Morgan is driving the streets, trying to offer a solution to the problem.

"People are just killing people and getting by with it," he said. "Everybody saying there's no answer. I think vests are an answer."

At about $3-4 a pop, Morgan is handing out brightly-colored vests to anyone he sees in harm's way, like one woman in her 80s he encountered a few days ago who was also in a wheelchair out in traffic.

"I just don't want to see people like you or anybody get hurt. If this little thing can prevent it, please wear it in the daytime, too," he said to the woman. He offered a vest and she accepted it.

"You could tell she appreciated it. It's like, 'Here I am and why would someone even stop for me?'," he said.

He also stopped Kevin Crowe, who seen dodging cars in his motorized scooter. He says the scooter is his only source of transportation and has had some close calls.

"These bicycle lanes, when I do have to get in one of them, which they're wide enough for me, these cars are still going into the bicycle lanes," Crowe said.

"I was wondering if I could give you this as a Christian man? It's brand new. You can keep it if you'll wear it," Morgan said to Crowe.

Another vest, another potential life saved as one man rolls off and another one rolls along.

"I think people like me can do more than the law just by helping people," Morgan said.

Our story may have ended there, but Morgan continued on following another pedestrian he saw in a wheelchair. He's hopeful that others might pick up some vests and do their part to hand them out when possible and safe to do so.

Police say pedestrians have to do their part to watch cars, dress in bright clothing, walk against the traffic and use crosswalks.