Distractions and haste can make pedestrian crossings perilous

When you’re crossing streets and driving through campus, it’s not the time to zone out on devices or to music.

Pedestrian signal

Pedestrians should follow all crossing signs.

IU Police Department urges both pedestrians and drivers to pay attention and be patient when traveling throughout Indiana University’s campuses.

“Put down the phone; take off the headphones,” said IUPD Indianapolis Chief Bob True. “Smartphones and handheld electronic devices are a daily part of our lives, but they take your eyes off the road and distract your attention.”

Special pedestrian crossing lights have been installed on New York Street at IUPUI and will be installed at three locations on Michigan Street. At IU Bloomington in recent years, crossings have been made more visible and islands have been installed to slow traffic.

Police say it’s important for pedestrians to follow the directions on pedestrian crossing signs – when the hand is flashing red and when the number countdown is red, pedestrians should not begin crossing a street. Citations are rarely issued, but failing to cross at crosswalks or crossing against the traffic lights could result in a $150 citation.

More tips for a safe commute:

When driving on campus:

  • When entering crosswalk areas, drive slowly and be prepared to stop.
  • Yield to pedestrians crossing in marked designated crosswalks, and be careful when passing vehicles stopped at the crosswalks. Indiana law requires motorists to stop if another vehicle is stopped for pedestrians at a crosswalk.
  • Establish eye contact with pedestrians and be patient.

When walking to and from class:

  • Stop and look both ways, even on one-way streets, every time before crossing the street — even when you have the right-of-way, and especially at intersections where a turn on red is permitted.
  • Obey traffic control signals for pedestrians. Before crossing, look both directions and over your shoulder for turning vehicles.
  • Cross the street at marked crosswalks and intersections. Establish eye contact with drivers before crossing: do NOT enter the crosswalk suddenly.

When cycling to class:

  • Follow vehicle traffic rules, including stopping at stop signs and riding on streets, not sidewalks.

“Distractions are everywhere today and becoming more and more difficult to avoid,” True said. “Remember that, as a pedestrian, your eyes and ears are you best tools for keeping safe. Stay alert and watch out. Pay extra care around construction.”

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