This article was originally published in ZU News.
The Department of Campus Safety sent out a campus wide email today with 22 pedestrian safety tips for students walking, cycling or skateboarding on and around APU’s campus.
“We don’t get a lot of opportunity to provide information about pedestrian safety on our campus,” said Campus Safety Chief Tim Finneran. “We do a lot of traffic safety for drivers. We do a lot of parking enforcement at the request of the university. We thought it would be a good idea to send out some pedestrian, skateboard and bicycle safety tips.”
This list of safety tips includes basic information such as looking both ways before stepping out onto the street. It also includes more detailed information including four tips on how to be seen when crossing streets and while walking at night.
“We do notice a lot of people are not using the cross walks, stepping off the curbs in the middle of the roadways, looking down at their phones, or have both their headphones in so they don’t hear traffic behind them,” Finneran said. “Lieutenant Hollowell and I see a lot of that going on when we walk the parking lots almost every day.”
This is one of the biggest issues according to the email. People are on their phones while walking, cycling, or skateboarding.
“It goes back to the same thing, with everybody on their phone with headphones in, and a skateboarder coming up behind them. Should they step to the right or the left, there’s a chance of a collision there. We’re trying to avoid all that,” said Operations Lieutenant Lee Hollowell.
Many students have experienced this hazard whilst walking from East Campus to West Campus or vice versa between classes. Among these students is junior English major Emily Benedetta.
“I feel as though bikers are a safety hazard to walkers,” Benedetta said. “They are moving at a much faster pace than walkers and expect them to either move out of their way or stick to one area of the sidewalk. This is especially troublesome during busy times of the day.”
One of the tips in the email reads: “Per the APU Vehicle Code, bicyclists and skateboarders must yield to pedestrians.”
Finneran said that this has been a big issue on campus. He also said that bicyclists should be following the same rules as vehicles. This means that they should be riding on the street and not the pedestrian-filled sidewalk.
“We see a lot of skateboarders shoot through the intersections and through the parking lot, moving around pretty quickly,” Finneran said. “We understand that’s their mode of transportation, but we just want them to be more cognizant of pedestrians on the roadway and the sidewalk that may not be anticipating their quick arrival.”
To view the whole list of tips, check your APU email.
“We think about the safety of everybody here at the university, whether you’re walking around, on a skateboard, on a bike, on a scooter, or in a car,” Finneran said. “It’s preventative.”