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Police urge caution, common sense when traveling on campus


University Police are reminding employees and students to exercise caution when traveling on campus.

The need for caution was emphasized by a Dec. 6 accident, which sent a member of the faculty to the hospital. Siddhartha Mitra was hit by a car as he was crossing West Drive near the Academic buildings at 6:50 p.m. on his way to the Lecture Hall for a class. Mitra was transported to Wilson Memorial Regional Medical Center for treatment. The driver was not cited in the accident.

As the spring semester starts, police remind motorists and pedestrians to be pay attention to traffic.

“People should not assume they have the right of way they should always be cautious,” said Police Chief John Schwartz.

New York state law indicates that drivers should yield the right of way, slowing down or stopping, for a pedestrian crossing the road within a crosswalk, but that pedestrians should not leave the curb or move into the path of a vehicle that is so close that it is impractical for the driver to yield. However, people should check before they enter a crosswalk to make sure traffic has stopped.

“They need to assume that vehicles are not going to stop and (drivers) need to assume that the pedestrians are not going to stop,” said Timothy Faughnan, deputy chief of police.

Pedestrians should also be aware of traffic even if they are not crossing the road. “We’ve had people get hit with mirrors on buses and trucks because they were standing on the curb,” Faughnan said.

Motorists traveling on campus should keep in mind that if a car has already stopped at a crosswalk in locations where campus roads widen to four lanes, state law requires other drivers to stop as well, Schwartz said.

Drivers should also watch their speed on campus roads. University police continue to watch for speeders, issuing citations to drivers who do not comply with campus limits.

One of the concerns his department hears is the need for more lighting on campus roadways, Schwartz said, adding that his department and the University’s Personal Safety Advisory Committee continually review campus lighting and safety signage to ensure roads and walkways are well lit and clearly marked.

Schwartz encourages members of the campus community to report lights that are not working to Physical facilities so that repairs can be made.
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Last Updated: 10/14/08