16:05 PM

When in car, bike, scooter or foot traffic, think safety first

Ohio State urges caution as academic year begins

Students heading back to class means tens of thousands of people are navigating their way around The Ohio State University Columbus campus. School officials are making traffic safety a top priority – whether it’s by car, scooter, bike or foot.

Second-year finance major Jordan Blessing shared his concerns while riding his motorized skateboard.

“I think people pay attention,” Blessing said. “But there’s always distracted driving. Everyone’s got to kind of watch out.”

Ohio State first-year student Shane Bays walks to get around campus.

“I think pedestrians are probably worse than drivers,” Bays said. “I’ve seen some pretty risky stuff. But it’s not terrible. I feel all right getting around.”

Ohio State wants all in the campus community to avoid risks and potential injuries, be aware of their surroundings and look out for fellow Buckeyes.

Ohio State University Police Officer DeRon McIntyre says people not paying attention when they cross the street causes concern.

“That’s a big issue, and sometimes we have incidents where people don’t use the crosswalks and they collide with a scooter, a bike or another vehicle,” said McIntyre, who added that education is key.

“You just try to talk to as many people as possible,” he said. “Our officers are very big on that. We stop a lot of people. We talk with a lot of people in a vehicle or pedestrians and we give them warnings … and let them know, ‘this isn’t the safest thing to do, and here’s why.’”

Ohio State is urging students, faculty and staff to follow some common-sense safety tips:

  • Eliminate distractions: Look up from your phone and remove earbuds.
  • Ride bikes and scooters in the road, not on sidewalks.
  • Always wear a helmet.
  • When driving, yield to pedestrians.
  • Avoid construction zones and obey signage.

“I definitely look around a little bit more and I try to make myself visible,” sophomore Lisa Brown said.

Jack Nasar, professor emeritus of city and regional planning, says that when cell phones gained in popularity, he decided to study what he saw as potential red flags.

“The research turned to looking at the impact of talking on cell phones when you’re walking and we found both distracted attention on campus,” Nasar said. “In fact, right over here,” he said, standing on West Woodruff Avenue, “we found that people walked into oncoming traffic when they were talking on cell phones.”

“That’s pretty common too,” graduate student Laura Bentley observed, “especially in the beginning of the school year when people are trying to use the app to find places.”

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