BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The LSU student government hosted a Pedestrian Safety Day on Thursday, Feb. 27 to inform students about the dangers of being distracted while walking or biking and to get feedback on problem areas of campus.
“It’s an issue. It’s an issue,” sophomore Matt Dreher told WAFB.
The Student Government Association partnered with the LSU Police Department, EMS, UREC, LSU Parking and Transportation to remind students to be safe on the road.
“Pedestrian safety is always a priority for us, and that starts with education,” said LSU Police Chief Bart Thompson.
Sophomore Emily Otken organized the event and serves as the Director of Transporation and Safety with SGA. Otken says LSU administrators asked the SGA to survey students, pass along safety tips, and to get feedback about where students feel safe and feel unsafe on campus.
“The number one goal is to arrive alive,” said Capital Region Safety Coordinator Kenyatta Robertson.
“If there’s a crosswalk. Always use crosswalks when crossing intersections. If there’s not a crosswalk, we should still be crossing at an intersection,” Robertson said.
The goal is to remind students to pay attention as they walk and bike while reminding drivers to also pay close attention. Dreher says he runs most of his errand on a bike.
He’s seen a few close calls, “I’ve been hit from the back. I’ve been rear-ended on my bike by the people on a bike on their phone.”
In 2019, four LSU students were hit near Tiger Stadium while standing on a corner and a sophomore was killed while trying to cross Nicholson Drive near Tigerland.
Robertson says their message to all students is to remain undistracted, “Cars are always in and out of campus. So, it’s just really safe that while you’re biking and walking that you’re paying attention to the road.”
She says people walking should never assume a car will stop because they have a red light or a stop sign.
Otken says safety is her top priority and as a commuter, she often questions that at night, “I have to consider. Oh, do i need to move my car to an area with better lighting before I have a meeting?”
This is why Otken and other SGA members are surveying students to find out if there are dark pockets on campus that make walking uncomfortable.
She shares one concern mentioned by a student, “Lighting around the res halls. I’ve had several students come by and say they’ve been followed in different areas around the res halls on the west side of campus,” she says.
A simple thumbtack and printout of campus serves as a map for students to point out areas of concern. Another student said the lightening by the Quad was concerning, a walkway wasn’t well lit.
Some of the students told WAFB, they just hope school administrators find a way to make the students feel better about walking.
The SGA will take this information to school administrators.
Destination Zero Deaths, Front Yard Bikes, BREC, Safety Place, and MADD also participated in the event.