Editorial: Campus drivers need to use brakes

Last week, The Rider News reported that two students had been involved in a collision. One student driver struck another student walking between West Village and the Phi Sigma Sigma house. Last Friday, a woman faculty member was also struck by a vehicle. Although both women sustained only minor injuries, the accident points to the need for the University and students to do more to improve pedestrian safety.

Many students on the Lawrenceville campus drive carelessly. They take curves and turns at alarming speeds, drive recklessly through crosswalks without stopping for pedestrians and ignore stop signs. The speed limit on campus is 15 miles per hour, and Rider is a small school. Driving like this, especially with so many people trekking around campus at all hours, is downright dangerous. And although last week’s accidents weren’t necessarily the result of speeding, incidents like these will only continue to happen if students keep driving mindlessly.

In April 2010, it became a law in New Jersey for drivers to stop, and stay stopped, for pedestrians in crosswalks. According to www.nj.gov, motorists were previously only required to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk. This seems like a rarity, at least on the part of students. Moreover, many of those who do stop don’t do so completely, and rather than letting those crossing get safely to their destination, drivers sometimes press the gas pedal while the person is still crossing the street. Drivers should exercise more caution on campus to make for a safer environment for those who walk the grounds here.

The University, student drivers and even those walking around campus can each do something to help prevent future accidents. First, the University might want to consider putting up additional speed limit signs. The two most visible ones are on either side of the Campus Mall, though both are relatively small and easy to miss. Speed limit signs aren’t instantly noticeable throughout the rest of campus. More of them would be a welcome addition.

Another thing that might help make on-campus driving safer is adequate lighting. The Campus Mall is poorly lit, as is the road that runs next to the BLC and library. If a driver can’t see the road ahead of him or her, how will they be able to see a person? Perhaps outlining pedestrian crosswalks with reflectors would also help people see better at night.

It might also be worthwhile to put additional speed bumps in the roads, especially near West Village and Poyda Hall. The parking lots in that area create more traffic than in other areas. Finally, the University could work more with Public Safety to crack down on speeding motorists. It seems that the speed limit is not strictly enforced. If a Public Safety officer happens to catch someone speeding, they should pull him or her over.

If you drive on campus, do your peers a favor and slow down. Again, the Lawrenceville campus is a small one and can be navigated in a matter of minutes; there’s really no reason to be speeding. What’s the rush? If you see someone trying to cross the street, remember that pedestrians have the right of way, and let them go safely, without them feeling as though you might run them over. Also, be vigilant. You never know when someone might pop up out of nowhere.

If you’re the one walking around campus, you should also be paying attention. Before you cross the street, look both ways and make sure it’s safe. It’s something we learn in kindergarten, yet so many of us tend to walk blindly into the road without so much as a glance. Putting your phone down for a few seconds may very well save your life.

The bottom line: Rider isn’t the Autobahn, people. Give your fellow students a brake.

This weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News. This week’s editorial was written by the Managing Editor, Kaitlin MacRae.

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