How many times has someone bumped into you or have you bumped into someone on the way to class? For many of us, it’s a daily occurrence. Especially on a campus that is easily ten times the size of a high school. We easily get distracted by our phones, talk amongst peers, and rush to get to class on time.
As I walk down the road to class, I notice about 80% of students have headphones in their ears blasting their music, podcasts, and readings. I must admit, I am also guilty of this. Personally, I don’t want to hear conversations around me or be bothered, so I put my headphones on.
However, have you ever thought about it like this – people tend to drown out their surrounding noises, so much so, that they neglect the presence of other pedestrians, cyclists, and people moving on skateboards? I want you to have a safe and enjoyable walk to class, so please follow these tips:
- Put the phone down! I know it may seem like checking that DM is the most important thing in the world but trust me it can wait until you are out of the sea of people. By checking that person’s message, you slow down the traffic of people behind you who then must move around you to get to class. Trust me, do not be that person.
- Turn down the music. I know, I know, as much as I love music, it is dangerous to play it at max volume. By listening to your music full blast, you will miss the inevitable “watch out!” or a bell ringing from cyclists warning you to move out of the way. And what about hearing an emergency vehicle? I would much rather listen to a mix of music and people muttering than create an incident with a bicycle or skateboard.
- Follow signs and signals. The campus has paid good money to install sidewalks, crosswalks, crossing signals, and even bike lanes, so use them. By using the built environment properly, you’re making yourself predictable to drivers, and as a driver, you should follow the same rules of the road.
- Leave early so as not to rush to class. There is nothing worse than being caught behind a swarm of people when you are late to class. To avoid those situations, try to walk to class about 15 minutes before it begins. By leaving your dorm or car 15 minutes early, you will be able to walk as liberally as you’d like with minimal people in your way.
Remember we all have places to be, classes to attend, and people to see. Be courteous to yourself and others by taking this advice, and you will see just how much safer a pedestrian you will be.
By Karla Garcia
Watch this brief video from Walk Bike Safe Texas showing how to walk without distractions.