WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – CityBus General Manager Marty Sennett said being aware of pedestrians and cyclists is not a seasonal thing for bus drivers. It’s a 24-7, 365 day job.
“We talk a lot about the students wearing their hoodies, being plugged in and not being aware of their surroundings,” Sennett said.
As spring weather approaches, more pedestrians and cyclists will be out. Purdue police said in the spring and in the fall, when students return to campus, they see more people outside, and some of the same problems.
“One of the things we see continuously is people riding the wrong way on University Street in that bike lane,” PUPD Lt. Keene Red Elk said. “That confuses drivers who are used to looking south for on-coming traffic, but they do not see the bike coming from the north.”
Red Elk said pedestrians need to use the crosswalks. Cyclists need to use the bike lanes and follow the rules of the road like a motorist.
Both Red Elk and Sennett agreed the number one way to keep yourself safe as a driver, pedestrian or cyclist is to be aware of your surroundings, and sometimes that means unplugging.
“People need to use all their senses out here,” Red Elk said. “Simply putting ear buds in and listening to music and walking into a roadway — you’re not going to hear a car that may be laying on their horn or possibly an emergency vehicle coming through with their sirens on.”
It’s been nearly a year since Purdue student Andrew Fant hit a bus while riding his bicycle. According to CityBus video, Fant had ear buds in and his head down at the time of the crash. That crash left him seriously injured.
“It was April 1,” Sennett said. “I was hoping it was an April Fool’s joke, but it was no joke.”
CityBus is continuing their campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of being distracted while on the sidewalk or road. Sennett said the program has received positive feedback, and it will be ramped back up this fall when students return.
According to the Facebook page Prayers for Andrew, Andrew Fant is home continuing to recover from the crash and attends frequent therapy sessions.