An unusual number of bicycle accidents on or near the Ohio State campus last month have prompted university president, E. Gordon Gee, to form the Traffic Safety Task Force to find a way to make OSU safer for all students. According to a report from The Lantern, four bicycle accidents were recorded at OSU in September, compared to a total of just seven in the first eight months of 2012.
At least two of the OSU bicycle accidents that occurred last month were considered serious. In a September 5th incident, a freshman lost his leg when his bike collided with a dump truck at 155 Woodruff Ave. The following day, a collision with a bike near campus on High Street left a young woman fighting for her life in intensive care.
Following the second crash, Columbus police announced they would be cracking down on pedestrian and bicycle safety. As of September 13th, they had already issued 241 citations in the University District area that were a “combination of jaywalking and bicycle violations,” according to The Lantern.
The Traffic Safety Task Force sent an email to the OSU community on October 16th detailing its recommendations. Among other things, it advised adding signs to areas near crosswalks and issuing citations to students who don’t follow the traffic regulations. Most of the recommendations are not expected to be fully implemented for another four to six months, the Lantern said.
Ohio’s Share The Road Campaign
According to statistics from 2006-2010 recently released by the Ohio Department of Public Safety, the state saw 2,000 crashes and 1,600 injuries that resulted from a car hitting a cyclist. Over 2,600 pedestrian accidents led to more than 2,200 serious injuries. The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) launched a “Share the Road Campaign” this past June with the hopes of reigning in those grim statistics. To reduce the number of bicycle accidents and other crashes, ODOT recommends that:
- Bicyclists should always ride with traffic, have a light attached for dark conditions, abide by all traffic signs and properly signal turns.
- Pedestrian should make eye contact with drivers if possible, look both ways before crossing busy intersections, and wear bright colored clothing when walking at night (preferably reflective material).
- Motorcyclists should always wear a helmet, avoid speeding and perform routine maintenance checks before riding.
- Those driving cars and other motor vehicles should take extra care in poor weather and poor visibility conditions, avoid distractions like texting or changing the radio, and never get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol.
While not every accident can be avoided, following these guidelines will make Ohio’s roads safer for everyone. When accidents do occur, bikers, drivers and pedestrians should discuss their rights and legal options with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.