On Monday at approximately 6:40 p.m., sophomore Greg Nasso was struck by a vehicle while crossing Elmwood Avenue on his bike. He was treated at the scene for minor cuts and scratches to his hands, arms, knees and feet but declined further medical attention.
This incident comes just six days after another student, senior Sara Gail Ng Lim, was struck by a vehicle while walking across the same crosswalk. An e-mail sent out yesterday by Director of University Security Walter Mauldin says that the University has requested the installation of traffic signals at the crosswalk.
Nasso was riding northbound toward the River Campus when the accident occurred. According to him, the sensors before the crosswalk triggered the flashing amber lights embedded in the road. As he crossed the inside lane of eastbound traffic, however, a vehicle clipped the back tire of his bicycle, throwing him forward and off of the bicycle. The cycle was thrown on top of the car.
“The lights worked and I saw cars stopped on both sides of the street, and I thought it would be safe to cross because any other cars coming would be slowing down,” he said. “Obviously, this [driver] had no intention of slowing down for the signal and only slammed on the brakes once I had pulled out in front of her.”
According to Nasso, two medical students who were driving in the area stopped their car and helped him. They called 911 and, within minutes, UR Security, Rural Metro ambulance, and the Rochester Police Department were on the scene. As of Monday night, RPD was investigating the incident; they were not available for further comment. It was Mauldin’s understanding that the driver of the vehicle was not charged.
A Community Update was sent out to UR students as well as faculty and staff members at approximately 7:30 p.m. yesterday by Mauldin. It announced that traffic engineers have agreed to an expedited review of a request made by UR by to install traffic signals at the crosswalk and Medical Research Building entrance. If the project is approved after an engineering study of the area to assess conditions and construction possibilities, the signals will be installed as soon as weather permits in 2008.
According to the update, RPD has increased traffic enforcement on Elmwood Avenue to crack down on speeders and those who violate other traffic laws. According to New York State Law, motorists must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks to allow for the safe passage of the pedestrian.
The update also included tips for pedestrians to remember when crossing the street. Mauldin said that while pedestrians obviously cannot prevent all accidents, there are ways in which they can minimize the risks associated with crossing the street.
“Pedestrians can’t control whether a driver is on their cell phone or going over 30 miles per hour,” he said. “But what they can do is take their ear buds out, stop using cell phones for a moment and check for imminent danger before they step into the crosswalk.”
Mauldin explained that as for the crosswalk, the amber lights, which were added in March, do not add any legal ramifications for drivers beyond the state law concerning pedestrians. They are a technical enhancement to help drivers notice when a pedestrian is using the crosswalk. Nasso believes that motorists generally understand the significance of the amber lights.
“I’ve seen the lights multiple times while driving, and as a student, I feel that it’s pretty common sense that when those lights go off you slow down until you don’t see any students crossing the road,” he said. “Where the lights fail is [when] people who do not know what that signal means don’t slow down, and that’s the greatest risk right now.”
Moeller is a member of the class of 2009.