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No consensus on cause for traffic accidents near Ohio State campus

Daniel Chi / Asst. photo editor

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Some students think more than hundreds of jaywalking and bicycling tickets, or fliers with safety information, are needed to solve recent Ohio State traffic safety problems. However, many of them aren’t sure what can be done.
Three other incidents joined a string of on- and off-campus bicyclist and pedestrian involved crashed Friday, two were not considered serious.
In light of the recent accidents, OSU President E. Gordon Gee sent an email to the OSU community Sept. 7 to tell them he was creating a safety task force made of a “team of students, faculty and staff to review our existing efforts and to look for new opportunities to further enhance our safety on sidewalks and roads.” While many agree that awareness of safety concerns and rules might help cut down on campus accidents, there is no clear solution to the problem, if one exists at all.
Gee said he believes the events are influenced by the recent changes on campus.
“I think it is because of the rhythm of change from quarters to semesters, and the fact that we are doing so much construction on campus,” said Gee at the Friday event. “Those are probably the two major issues.”
Collin Gossel, a second-year in music composition who rides his bike to class, agreed.
“There’s more people out on the roads, more probability of an accident, and there’s not as much time between classes now, so all those people are trying to get where they’re going faster than before,” Gossel said. “Sidewalks are blocked off, you’re more likely to go in the street, and then streets are being changed to one ways and you don’t realize it sometimes until you see a car coming at you.”
Sebastian Thimmig, a third-year in computer science and engineering, and also a campus cyclist, said he too felt there were more people on campus this year, but believes the construction has been well implemented.
“I’ve biked by the construction plenty of times, the guys are really helpful, they’ll blow a whistle at you if you’re coming and a truck’s coming,” Thimmig said. “I feel like people should be more aware of what they’re doing.”
It was in the spirit of awareness that Gee and volunteers passed out fliers on Friday, urging students to be more safety conscious.
Prior to Friday’s events, the Columbus Division of Police began issuing students jaywalking tickets and more rigorously citing bicycle violations.
Columbus Police Precinct 4 Commander Chris Bowling said on Sept. 7 and Sept. 8, 241 tickets were issued for jaywalking and bicycling violations in the campus area.
Bowling said this past weekend, 114 citations were issued in the campus area Friday, and 112 were issued Saturday.
Student’s reactions to the increased ticketing have been mixed.
Some students think it’s a good idea, and effective.
“I jaywalk once (a day) Monday, Wednesday, Friday almost religiously, but ever since they’ve started handing those out, I have started to drift more towards the crosswalks,” said Troy Seagraves, a first-year in philosophy.
He believes the ticketing is a good idea “at least temporarily until things die down and people start taking those issues seriously.”
Other students feel giving jaywalking tickets won’t make much of a difference.
“It’s not going to help out at all, it’s just going to fine some people some money and piss people off,” Thimmig said.
Jordan Bickham, a first-year in exploration, admitted she jaywalks, and said that while she wouldn’t want to get a ticket, she wonders what else can be done.
“I don’t know what else they could do besides saying stop walking in the middle of the road,” she said. 

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