It was the first day of classes. I had just finished things up with my first course of the day and was in the process of meeting up with a friend for lunch. As we sat outside catching up, we heard a screech and a squeaking halt, followed by several shouts. A small group of people were rushing to the middle of the street around the intersection of Woodruff Avenue and High Street. A student had just been hit by a vehicle.
This is one of those situations where you see police officers and paramedics swarming when you drive by, but you are rarely ever an actual witness to. In other words, it was such an event that my lunch was given a strong sense of intrigue and a desire on my behalf to figure out what exactly occurred.
A student walking along the designated crosswalk was thrown to the ground when a vehicle going north on High Street was shifting into the left turn late to go west on Woodruff. As fearful as I was for the student’s life, I was not surprised that the event occurred. The speed limit on High street in the campus area is 25 miles-per-hour — the standard speed limit on side streets or family-oriented neighborhoods. On a street as busy as this one that borders Ohio State however, I doubt that’s strictly followed with the hundreds of drivers that go through the area to go downtown or up north.
I have less of an issue with the vehicle’s speed (the vehicle could not have been going too fast as the student struck was taken in by paramedics but did not seem to suffer any serious injury) but rather with the placement of crosswalks and the lack of attention paid by drivers to students utilizing them.
On 13th Avenue there’s a crosswalk with a traffic light to allow students at least a few moments to cross the street. This is the right idea, and ought to be executed with crosswalks up the street, closer to the north end of campus. Of course the traffic light ought to be fair to drivers and timed in a manner that neither end — the pedestrians crossing or the cars — are held up for too long.
If anything, drivers should be made more cautious when
driving through the campus area. Students are bound to jaywalk or cross as inopportune times. Although I do not condone this, drivers might want to be a bit more aware. This also goes for the opposite end; students need to be alert crossing the street wherever they are, especially at crosswalks without traffic lights.
Luckily the student that crossed last week did not have a fatal accident but the mere fact that a situation like that occurs should be a reminder that it’s best to be a safer driver looking out for students when going through campus, and as a student to look out for drivers that may be taking more risks than they should do. Crossing the street should never be a skill that’s less-than-elementary, but it’s solely based on smart drivers and students that are looking out when crossing.