Many of our local Massachusetts and Rhode Island colleges and universities like Brown University and Johnson & Wales in Providence, or Bristol Community College in downtown New Bedford have campuses which are integrated with the public city streets. With students rushing from class to class and crossing streets with commuters and distracted drivers, the possibility of an auto-pedestrian accident or auto-bicycle accident looms large.
When a student pedestrian or bicyclist is struck by a car, there’s a very good chance they will suffer a catastrophic injury. Injuries like traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal injuries, and paralysis can be life-changing. It cannot be said enough, it is the driver’s “duty of care” to avoid habits like distracted driving to help assure the safety of all pedestrians and bicyclists.
What Can Drivers Do To Help Curb Auto-Pedestrian & Auto-Bicycle Accidents?
According to a recent Center for Disease Control (CDC) study, nearly 6,000 pedestrians are killed in auto-pedestrian accidents in the United States each year. This averages to one crash-related pedestrian fatality every 1.5 hours. With numbers like these, it’s imperative that drivers curb deadly habits like speeding and distracted driving. Here are a few tips to help you to be a safe and responsible driver.
- Avoid distracted driving – These days many people struggle to sit in traffic without opening their smartphone to answer texts and emails, look at social media, or to try to take care of work or personal business. Please take care of all of your business before or after operating a motor vehicle.
- Slow down – Many drivers drive through downtown areas and college campuses without slowing down to the posted speed limit. When a driver is going too fast, it becomes more difficult to react or to come to a stop for students.
- Understand student behavior – When driving through a campus, understand that many of these students may be a bit more hurried or distracted than your average pedestrian. Another factor is the presence of foreign students who may not yet be acquainted with traffic rules in our country.
Student Pedestrians & Bicyclists Responsibility
Student pedestrians and bicyclists have a responsibility as well. A city campus environment can be a dangerous place, but paying attention and avoiding habits like walking while looking at your phone can help to keep you out of harms way.
- Pay attention and use caution when crossing streets – Look left, right and then left again before stepping off of a curb to cross a street, and just because the “Walk” signal is illuminated does not mean the street is completely safe.
- Be aware / Drop the distraction – Smartphones and earbuds should be put down when walking in public, especially when crossing the street. Distracted walking can be just as dangerous as distracted driving. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings.
- Use the sidewalks – Use sidewalks when they are available, and try to walk facing traffic as far to the left side as possible when there are no sidewalks.
- Adhere to traffic rules on public streets – When a college campus is integrated with public thoroughfares, it’s important to follow traffic rules. Cross the street at marked crosswalks and wait for the “walk” signal at intersections.
- Bicycle/ Scooter Safety – If you’re riding your bicycle or renting a JUMP bike or a Bird / Lime Scooter, be sure to follow these rules of the road: always wear a helmet, always yield to pedestrians, ride in the direction of traffic, make sure to stop red lights and stop signs, always brake early and gradually