Class of 2012 alumnus Andrew Thomas Anderson Jr. has encountered Southern students crossing the street at night without activating the crosswalk signals. The area that concerns him the most is the crosswalk near the Village Market.
“I have experienced students not stopping and looking both ways before crossing,” Anderson said.
Southern’s student handbook states “pedestrians crossing the streets on campus should cross at the designated crosswalks.”
It further states, “If the pedestrian does not allow reasonable time and distance for the driver to stop, the driver has the right-of-way.”
Campus Safety Officer Josh Fraker said that Southern abides by Tennessee pedestrian laws, which say, “No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.”
Students should keep Campus Safety rules in mind when using the crosswalk: It is important to cross at marked crosswalks; walking elsewhere forfeits your rights as a pedestrian. Also, students should make eye contact with the driver of an approaching vehicle to ensure that he or she sees them before crossing.
Fraker wants students to remember: “Crossing at dusk or dawn can be particularly dangerous. While there are street lamps, there are times when lighting conditions may render you hard to see. Use the flashing lights button each time you cross. Local residents are used to seeing the flashing notification lights indicating someone is in the crosswalk and look for them to be activated.”
Bicyclists using the crosswalk should also be cautious when crossing the street.
Riders are not required to dismount from their bicycles to use the crosswalk. Tennessee bicycle laws do not require cyclists to wear protective gear unless they are under the age of 16.
“There are requirements that bicycles follow all vehicle laws when operating on the road and all pedestrian laws when on a sidewalk,” Fraker said.
Unless they are walking with their bicycles, riders are considered a vehicle and not a pedestrian.
Senior mass communication-media production major Kehiry Castillo said, “When crossing the street at a crosswalk, I always look both ways before crossing. I think it’s so important to be aware of my surroundings.”
On the contrary, senior social work major Caleb Olmedo has noticed many people press the crosswalk signal and keep their heads down while crossing. “I can’t put my trust in drivers that I have no control over,” Olmedo said. “Accidents happen, so I have to press the button. Because if those cars are moving at 20 mph, I could still get hit.”