Bike-related Accidents on the Rise
Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012
The ramp outside of the TSC was the site of an accident between a cyclist and a Disability Resource student. The ramp is a no-bike zone. Samantha Behl photo (from the Utah Statesman Online).
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Bike-related Accidents on the Rise
A hit and run involving a bicycle and blind student drew attention to a need to follow traffic guidelines when crossing campus.
Kasondra Payne said she was on her way to the Disabilities Resource Center when she was struck on her left side by the handlebars and front tire of bike ridden by an unidentified cyclist coming from the parking lot by the TSC Oct. 9.
“The guy should have seen my white cane,” Payne said. Payne is a Disabilities Resource student who is blind and has cerebral palsy.
Sergeant Travis Dunn of the USU Police Department said Payne was walking down the pedestrian ramp by the TSC when she got hit. The area was a no-bike zone.
“A bicycle came up behind going fairly quickly and I heard a thump,” said Nancy Roberts, the coordinator of the Assistive Technology Learning Center in the Disabilities Resource Center. Roberts was with Payne when she was hit.
“I asked Kasondra, ‘Did he hit you?’” Roberts said.
Roberts said when Payne replied that the bicyclist had hit her, Roberts yelled to the passing bicyclist.
“That’s why they don’t want people to ride bikes on the ramp,” she said. “He didn’t slow down, didn’t turn around when I yelled at him.”
Payne said the man riding the bicycle never said anything, looked back, stopped or slowed down.
“He clipped my stomach and just kept going,” Payne said, “I don’t think he cared. If he did notice, it wasn’t a big deal to him so he just went on his way.”
The collision threw Payne’s balance off and nearly made her collide into the cement wall she was near.
“I was shaken up and thrown off balance, luckily not enough to throw me into the concrete or the railing,” Payne said. “It could have ended badly. I could have hit the concrete or the metal railing.”
The university bike policy states bicycles must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians, as well as signal intentions when approaching.
Dunn said there are few places where bicycles are prohibited on campus. Roadside sidewalks and other areas specifically marked, such as the ramp by the TSC where Payne was hit, are also forbidden.
Payne said bicyclists failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians and ignoring signs is a growing problem on USU campus.
“It was not a life threatening accident, but I’m sick of stuff like this happening,” Payne said. “I wouldn’t want this to happen to someone coming down with a wheelchair.”
Aggie Blue Bikes director Stephanie Tomlin said the main thing cyclists need to do is pay attention to their surroundings. A cyclist does not need to always get off and walk their bike when there is high traffic in the morning, but they should pay attention to the signs on the sidewalks. She said it is best to keep out of the way of pedestrians.
“If you need to, get off and walk in order to keep everyone safe,” Tomlin said.
Tomlin said it is unfortunate when an accident involving a bicycle makes the news because from her experience, things are going well on campus.
“The big gripe cyclists have is they want respect on the road, but that goes down to giving respect to pedestrians,” Tomlin said.
“Students need to be aware that not everyone is as able bodied as they are, and to be courteous and watch out for their fellow students,” Roberts said.
Payne said there is an easy solution to the problem.
“Pay attention to people around you,” Payne said. “Pay attention to the signs on the ramp that say to walk your wheels. Use common sense. I realize getting to class quickly is a good idea, but not at the expense of causing an accident.”
Dunn said the campus has a lot of pedestrian traffic problems, and more accidents involving bicycles are being reported to the police department. He said crosswalks continue to be areas of high congestion.
“People get impatient and get caught in traffic,” Dunn said.
Dunn said if a person on a bicycle does hit a pedestrian, they need to stop and help them. He said in all accidents involving bicycles and pedestrians last year, the cyclist stopped to help.