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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Town of Oolitic still grappling with speed limits following fatal car vs bike accident in 2020

Updated: Oct 31, 2023

OOLITIC - AUGUST 28, 2023 - The Town of Oolitic is still waiting on finding a engineering company to conduct a engineering study in order to lower the town's speed limit to 20 miles per hour and keep the existing 20 mile per hour speed limits where it is already is posted.


The issue has been ongoing with residents previously asking the town council to slow vehicles down by reducing the speed limit and having the town marshal patrol the town's streets.


This request comes after Camden Moore age 10 was struck by a vehicle while riding his bicycle and died in the 100 block of Vista Drive on December 23, 2020.


Many of those speeding are the residents themselves.


" I think there definitely needs to be an engineering study done, because raising the speed limit to 25 miles per hour in Rolling Acres is a mistake. Especially, if we are not going to enforce it until 35 miles per hour. It's already a dangerous place, with everyone roaring up and down the road. I think we need to approach this very carefully and studiously. Lets get this done right, this is so we do not get stuck with a child or any other person dies as a result of someone going through there to fast," said Chris Moore father of Camden in a previous town council meeting in 2022.


Three years later the town council and residents complaining on costs verses safety continues on the debate.


The state laws, local prosecutor and lack of enforcing the speed limits continue on in the small Lawrence County town.



Photo: Camden Moore age 10 was killed in a car vs. bike accident in December 2020


Oolitic resident Cindy Grow, in July asked the town council to forgo the engineering study because the town does not have the money to spend on it.


According to Jon Broglin, town council member the cost of the study can range between $8,000 to $30,000 depending on the firm.


Photo: Small children was riding their bikes near Dollens Elementary school on Sunday September 3, 2023


During the August town council meeting Johnny "BOB" Dillion suggested the town forgo the study. The town council member suggesting what does 5 mile per hour make a difference?


Photo: The speed limit along Plaza Drive is 25 miles per hour however within a few feet the speed limit is reduced to 20 miles per hour


The Lawrence County Zephyr has found that along Plaza Drive in Bedford the speed limit of 25 - 20 miles per hour varies in just a few feet on a small stretch of that street.


Photo: The speed limit along Plaza Drive changes from 25 mile per hour within just a few feet

None of the local governments which include Lawrence County, City of Bedford, City of Mitchell or Town of Oolitic have a highway engineer on staff.


The Lawrence County Sheriff Greg Day, and County Highway Superintendent Brandi Webb determines the speed limits for the county roadways. The recommendation is then communicated to the Lawrence County Commissioners who vote on the recommendation.


For the City of Bedford Bedford Police Chief Terry Moore, and Street Commissioner David Flinn determine speed limits in the City of Bedford. The Bedford Board of Works then votes on the recommendation.




The issue has a challenge for the town council after Lawrence County Prosecutor Samuel Arp II sent a letter to both the Town of Oolitic and the City of Mitchell stating the 20 mile per hour is not enforceable. Any criminal cases that result from a traffic stop based on speeding, would not be prosecuted.


Source: Indiana Department of Transportation


Indiana Code has established multiple statutory maximum speed limits, depending on roadway type. For example, the maximum speed limit for a rural interstate highway is 70 mph, whereas the maximum speed limit for an alley is 15 mph. All speed limits in Indiana, that vary from the statutory maximum, are set by engineering studies and are usually within 5 mph of the 85th percentile speed, which is the speed that 85% of drivers are traveling at or below. The speed at which drivers will travel can be affected by many factors, including roadway features (for example, lane width or curves), traffic conditions, weather, vehicle type and condition, the driver’s perception of their own driving ability, law enforcement presence, and so on. As a result, studies show that there is little change in operating speeds after posting a new speed limit. INDOT will, however, consider additional factors, such as crash history and sight distance, along the segment as part of the engineering study.


Source: Indiana Department of transportation


The proposed ordinance has established a 25 mile per speed limit on the residential streets, 20 mile per hour in the school zone, and 10 miles per hour in the town's alleys.


Back in January 2022,the Oolitic Town Council approved the first reading of the ordinance at and the measure was expected to pass at the next town council meeting.


Oolitic town council members discussed the costs the town will incur with the new signage that will have to be placed throughout the town. Town attorney Greg Pittman states the town will have to seek three bids on the proposal.


When the city of Mitchell lowered their speed limits to 20 miles per hour in November 2022, being aware of the state law Lawrence County Zephyr asked Mitchell City Attorney Bryon Steele about whether Mitchell conducted an engineering study to lower their speed limits.


According to Steele the Mitchell does not have to take an engineering study to establish their own speed ordinance. " Someone is just being lazy, and not doing their job," said Steele.


There is no incentive for local law enforcement to focus on speeding motorist except during select period of times when the Indiana Justice Institute grants to focus on seat belt use and reckless driving during the holidays. The IJI pays for overtime to enforce traffic laws during the holidays.


Only $5.00 is given back to local governments from speeding tickets. The state legislature have written the laws were they keep the revenue. This has allowed to most law enforcement to focus on other law enforcement issues.


For breaking news, news and information go to lczephyy.org or like/follow the Lawrence County Zephyr Facebook page.


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Located at 1416 James Avenue Bedford, Indiana









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