EDITORIAL: Road awareness desperately needed on campus

Herald Staff

The issue: Traveling this campus is a danger in almost any form, as demonstrated by the number of accidents this semester alone. 

Our stance: If everyone could pay attention to what they’re doing, there would be fewer accidents and fewer close calls .

 

In light of the number of accidents on campus between cars, bikes, pedestrians or any combination of the three, we prepared this week’s editorial on Sunday shedding a humorous, but also critical, light on the seeming lack of precaution when it comes to traveling on campus. However, our sometimes unfair universe dealt an untimely hand Sunday night when a 19-year old student was struck on Russellville Road near Taco Bell and was transported to a Tennessee hospital.

While the details and circumstances surrounding the specific accident are unclear, as a staff we respond—come on, people, pay attention.

It is true that we live in a fast paced world with places to be and little room for excuses about why we’re late. We’re willing to wager there’s not a single person who, perhaps in their most flawed hour, hasn’t had something like the following thoughts.

“I’m almost late for class, and people should know to get out of the way when they see a car coming.”

“I’m clearly in the crosswalk, and it says stop and it has a sign and everything.”

“I just got a match on Tinder and I’m stuck in traffic anyway, I’m just gonna check that really quick.”

It’s not a thought we arrive at with malice. Perhaps a little bit of a dark humor, yes, but it’s never anyone’s intention to purposefully cause an accident that would do harm to themselves and others. 

Most people at this university have been driving long enough to where it’s almost a second nature, have probably had their fair share of small accidents as well as road trips and feel just as comfortable eating, texting or smoking behind the wheel as they would if they were walking.

But the shared lack of awareness among people navigating through campus is out of hand. One of the first road lessons we learned as children was to look both ways before crossing, and even a couple of us here at the Herald are guilty of not doing that every now and again within the comfort of those white lines. 

A campus environment is a distinctly different place than the rest of the world when it relates to means of getting anywhere. There’s speed limits posed and plenty of crossing signs installed for reminders, but yet there’s often close calls when an unwitting pedestrian suddenly changes direction in front of a cyclist, or when an automobile takes advantage of the gap between groups of crossing pedestrians. 

Not too long ago, a new speed limit was implemented in order to curb accidents on Normal Street. But to be blunt, Western could light up the streets like a Vegas strip with road signs and it won’t make a bit of difference if people don’t pay attention.

Walking, cycling or driving, if you’re not completely aware of your surroundings and you’re handed an unfortunate circumstance beyond your control, it could mean your life. Perhaps more road signs and restrictions are a good idea, and while we’re on the subject, maybe a couple regulations for the plethora of tiny university vehicles that take advantage of their small size and surprisingly fast speed.

Sooner than we probably expect, we’ll have self-piloted flying cars or drones that can attend class for us and there’ll be no need for sidewalks and roads. Gare-Bear can construct a thin line of avant-garde housing all the way up State Street, and we won’t have to worry about this particular issue anymore. Until then, let’s all just abide by the most basic road rules.