Pedestrian safety becomes an issue

January 29, 2009

by Kathleen Duncan

A recent increase in on-campus crosswalk collisions has pedestrians learning to be more cautious when crossing intersections.

LeDarrius Moore, a sophomore chemistry major, said he was crossing the road between Alabama Street and Western Avenue when he was struck by a car on Jan. 5.

“[The driver] didn’t even see me,” Moore said. “I was wearing black workout clothes and carrying a big red and white umbrella in a well lit area.”

Moore said he began to cross the road because he thought the car was far enough away and he had enough time.

“I thought that since she was far away, she could see me but she must have been distracted,” Moore said.

Moore also said when the woman hit him she kept driving, but noticed him as she was driving off and pulled over.

He said when the woman hit him he somersaulted through the air, landed, rolled, then sat up in shock.

“I panicked when I couldn’t move my leg, and when people started running over to ask me if I was OK, I told them to call an ambulance.”

Moore said he missed class for a week but was glad he was not hurt worse.

Lieutenant Curtis Hawkins of the Ruston Police Department said Moore was hit by the side mirror of her car and possibly the front bumper but no damage was done to her car.

“According to the police report, [Moore] admitted to crossing when the red ‘no crossing light’ was on, but he felt he had enough time to run across,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins said students should be aware a motorist could be distracted by something.

“Students are gambling with their safety when they run out without looking and when they cross when they know they shouldn’t because they have a false sense of safety [in the crosswalk] and that is dangerous,” Hawkins said.

William Davis, assistant chief of police, said the police department is trying to prevent accidents like this from happening, which is why the yellow placard placed in the crosswalk between Hale Hall and the pedestrian bridge was purchased.

“We felt it was a good idea to have the secondary warning sign in the road while not being obstructive,” Davis said. “I think [the yellow placard] has served [as] a more visible notice to motorists. It shows motorists the area is a crosswalk and they are supposed to stop for pedestrians.”

Davis said students should not automatically assume a motorist will stop.

“I would advise students to protect themselves further by looking before walking across the road,” Davis said. “Students should be aware even though they have the right-of-way as pedestrians, a motorist may not slow down.”