Every driver has experienced it—some carefree pedestrian taking his or her sweet time to stroll across a busy street. Every pedestrian has gone through it— some irresponsible driver speeding through an intersection in some inexplicable hurry to get nowhere important.
Many VSU students have the pleasure of experiencing both sides of the coin because they have to commute to campus then walk to class, often crossing busy intersections on the way.
It’s no secret that Valdosta isn’t the most pedestrian-friendly city.
Bike lanes are sparse and roads with adequate crossing signals are hard to come by. With this in mind, pedestrians should be aware that the cards aren’t stacked in their favor when they venture out into the street. Every driver isn’t making sure he or she observes every yield sign or gives the right of way to students walking to class. If you find yourself walking to your destinations, take some simple precautions to ensure your safety.
For example, putting your phone in your pocket as you cross the street is a good idea. Also, unless you’re Usain Bolt, five seconds is not enough time to make it across. Lastly, be aware of your surroundings.
No pedestrian has ever won a game of chicken with half a ton of moving steel.
Drivers shouldn’t get too comfortable either. The simple fact that you
are behind the wheel places a greater responsibility in your hands.
Hopefully, you have received training and been deemed proficient enough to operate a vehicle before you get in the driver’s seat. Therefore, you as the driver should be aware of people walking and be willing to yield if possible.
Some drivers can get understandably complacent after years of driving and attempt to bend the rules a little, but under no circumstances is picking up speed to catch a red light acceptable.
Both parties are at fault here, but there is one thing both can agree on: street signage can be improved around campus.
With Lizzie Lohmar’s tragic death still fresh in our memories, why haven’t there been more improvements to the major intersections on campus? Many of the intersecting streets on Patterson near the front lawn will give drivers the green light and pedestrians the sign to walk, leaving the decision to yield up to either person. Allotting definite times for drivers and pedestrians individually may be more time consuming, but may also be a safer option.
Until these infrastructural improvements can be made, some social changes may be needed. Drivers should be more willing to yield and pedestrians should be more aware of oncoming traffic regardless of right-of-way