2021 Town Marshal Update April

S-1 Tom Fitch

From the Desk of Town Marshal

Tom M. Fitch II, Marshal
Shipshewana Police Department


As we move closer to the summer Shipshewana is beginning its annual metamorphosis into the bustling town, we are all familiar with.  As our businesses, sidewalks, and streets all become filled with visitors it seems appropriate to discuss driving safety within our community.  One of the most asked questions we receive at the Shipshewana Police Department is related to passing vehicles sitting in traffic.  Most of these questions are related to the common traffic backups we receive annually during the flea market or large events we are hosting in Shipshewana.

Of those questions the one that is asked the most is passing on the right on the shoulder.  This question is not only the most asked, but one of the most common accidents we encounter in Shipshewana.  We work multiple accidents annually where vehicles pass multiple cars and travel the shoulder at a high rate of speed, until they are met by another motorist attempting the same maneuver.  These accidents usually have more damage and occasionally injury because of these speeds.  It is for this reason I would like to review the Indiana State Code on this issue.

IC 9-21-8-6 Overtaking and passing on the right; conditions

     Sec. 6. (a) A person who drives a vehicle may overtake and pass upon the right of another vehicle only under the following conditions:

(1) When the vehicle overtaken is making or about to make a left turn.

(2) Upon a roadway with unobstructed pavement of sufficient width for two (2) or more lanes of vehicles moving lawfully in the direction being traveled by the overtaking vehicle.

     (b) A person who drives a vehicle may overtake and pass another vehicle upon the right only under conditions that permit overtaking upon the right in safety. Overtaking upon the right may not be made by driving off the roadway.

I have included this above Indiana Code for review.  The key points that I believe we should all take notice of are the following:

You are only allowed to pass one vehicle on the right under certain conditions.
a. ONE VEHICLE (we know this because statute states another vehicle and that vehicle has to be making a left turn (Section 1))
b. If it is turning left (turn signal)
c. If the pavement is unobstructed (no other vehicles, buggies, or pedestrians in lane)
d. If it is not done by driving off the roadway, which includes the improved shoulder (paved portion)
e. FINALLY, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY IF IT IS DONE SAFELY!!

In closing those motorists who impatiently drive the improved shoulder passing multiple vehicles are in violation of this statute and, if stopped by police, can receive a citation.  This maneuver is extremely dangerous with the number of vehicles and pedestrians our community host every year.  Lets all do our part to make Shipshewana a relaxing, fun, and SAFE community for our citizens and guests.

Please feel free to contact the Shipshewana Police Department with any concerns or issues police@shipshewana.org or (260) 768-4310.  Please stay safe and healthy!!!

Sincerely,

Tom Fitch, Marshal
Shipshewana Police Department