Allie Hansen

Allie Hansen has written 2 posts for The Digital Bullpen

USF Police adapt to ‘denser’ cyclist and pedestrian population

Many Florida residents avoid bicycling and walking because they consider them unsafe, and USF, host of thousands of daily travelers, is no exception.

In 2010, 11 bicycle and pedestrian related collisions were reported on USF’s campus. In 2011, that number increased to 14 collisions.

“We have a much denser pedestrian and bike population (on campus) than you will find other places in the city,” USF Police Department Spokeswoman Lt. Charlotte Domingo said.

A study conducted in 2002 by USF’s Center for Urban Transportation Research and NuStatsInc. surveyed Florida metropolitan area citizens about pedestrian and bicycle collision involvement. The results yielded 183 crash encounters from just 174 respondents.

Yet, in some cases, cyclists themselves collide with pedestrians.

Jennifer DiSalvo, a regular USF cyclist, said she’s come within several close encounters.

“You don’t want to ride into a huge group of people somewhere like the (Marshall) Student Center,” she said. “I’ve done it before, and I’ve come close to hurting myself and others.”

The USF Police Department recognizes bicycles as vehicles and holds cyclists accountable for abiding by regular traffic and specialized bicycle laws.

Domingo said the roles of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists must be carried out respectfully in order to ensure safe transportation on campus.

“I drive my car to work, I park and now I become a pedestrian,” she said. “I need to make sure I use the crosswalks, pay attention to the lights and don’t cross the street when I shouldn’t.”

One of the most dangerous aspects of being a pedestrian is the ability to abuse the right of way. Benjamin Mittleman, a regular USF cyclist, said, “I see people all the time darting into the street at high speed, and it’s impossible for someone driving a car to predict that. They’re endangering themselves more than anything.”

USF has designated areas where bicycles and skateboards are prohibited due to higher concentrations of foot traffic, Domingo said.

Pedestrians and cyclists should wear bright, reflective clothing, especially at night, she said, to take precaution.

Day in the Life: Creating climate and environmental awareness

Jacquie Ayala, Campus Organizer for the regional organization Southern Energy Network, intercepts students on campus to raise awareness for climate and environmental issues at 2:45 p.m. on Monday, April 23rd in front of the Marshall Student Center at USF. The Southern Energy Network works on grassroots campaigns for environmental causes. Partnering with the USF Students for Environmental Action, members encourage students on campus to register to vote in the upcoming Presidential election. By encouraging voter registration, members aim for climate issues to be challenged and environmental progress to be made.

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