Cyclists, pedestrians share responsibility for safety with drivers

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Cyclists who ride their bikes through crosswalks and pedestrians who fail to trigger the flashing light at crosswalks are breaking the law, according to Capt. Don Stubbings, of the K-State Police.

“It is a bicyclist’s responsibility to walk the bike across the sidewalk,” Stubbings said. “This is an ongoing safety concern with this amount of pedestrian traffic.”

Riley Flinn, sophomore in computer science, rides his bike to class daily.

“I am a very experienced rider,” Flinn said. “I use my maneuvering skills to avoid students and vehicles to stay safe as well as improved parts such as tires and brakes.”

Flinn said he thinks drivers sometimes get annoyed with cyclists and drive too closely to cyclists on the road.

“They get impatient when you ride down the road and they can’t pass you,” Flinn said. “That makes me nervous because they get too close to you.”

Tori Humes, freshman in psychology, walks to class daily and said cyclists wearing earphones pose a safety issue.

“It makes me kinda nervous when people on bikes are listening to iPods and such,” Humes said. “I don’t think that they are completely tuned into what they are doing, and that can cause an accident as quickly as a car can.”

Although pedestrians have the right of way when it comes to crosswalks and city roads, pedestrians have an equal responsibility under Kansas law to give the cars on the road a fair amount of time to stop.

According to Chapter 8, Article 15 of the Kansas Statutes Annotated, “No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.”

Pedestrians near campus on streets like Manhattan and Denison avenues who do not hit the button to trigger the crosswalk signal risk violating this statute because drivers might not see they are crossing in time to stop. 
The traffic signals increases pedestrian safety because the driver of the vehicle knows someone is intending to walk in the crosswalk.

Stubbings said vehicles and pedestrians have an identical accountability to protect one another on the roads.

“It is a shared responsibility,” Stubbings said. “Pedestrians have to give the car enough room to stop.”

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