Caution: Yield to pedestrians

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With the influx of students on campus, California Baptist University is sure to see an increase in pedestrians walking, longboarding and biking.

As the school year starts, pedestrian etiquette is something that becomes a hot topic on campus.

“As a driver, it is frustrating because I get nervous driving,” said Jamie Amrstrong, senior psychology major. “I see them out of nowhere, scares me. But they have the right of way so I have to be more concerned.”

Jim Walters, director of public safety, describes pedestrians as anyone on foot, longboard or bike. Whether it is pedestrians or cars, students feel the frustration on both sides.

“I get more frustrated as a pedestrian than as a driver,” said Jessica Rios, sophomore psychology major. “As a pedestrian you have the right-of-way. Cars expect people to wait and I never look; I just walk.”

Contrary to Rios’ mindset on pedestrian etiquette, it varies between the pedestrian and the driver as to having the right away.

“I always make eye contact if I am a driver,” Armstrong said. “I always watch to make sure the pedestrian crosses the road. As the pedestrian, I always make sure the driver sees me before I cross.”

Walters explains that often pedestrians are the ones at fault.

“It’s the pedestrians that are not paying attention,” Walters said. “They’re texting or talking. Eight or 10 times today I watched a student step off the path into a car. Now the car was able to stop, but the student was either not aware of the approaching car, or just assumed that they would yield. We end up with a fairly short stop and everyone is fine.”

Walters impresses that proper etiquette is caution on both sides: driver and pedestrian. However, this is often not the case.

“I just walk in the intersection when it says to, regardless if anyone is driving,” Rios said.

Skateboarders or longboarders are often the biggest causes of students’s frustrations.

“I hate when they’re not on the crosswalk,” said Caleb Matt, junior intercultural studies major.

Walters explains that long boarders are treated and held to the same expectations as pedestrians on foot.

“We treat skateboarders as pedestrians,” Walters said. “The difference is that they are fast-moving pedestrian, so they shouldn’t be in the street at all. If they’re entering or crossing a street, they need to be very careful of approaching vehicles. They need to yield to the vehicle until it is clear to them that the vehicle has yielded to the pedestrian.”

Regardless of whether students are in vehicles or walking across campus, Walters explains that the advice is the same for all.

“It doesn’t matter if you have the right-of-way if you’re laying on your back and a car is on top of you,” Walters said. “It doesn’t make a difference at that point.”

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