BCPD Launches Sidewalk Safety Campaign
Published: Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
Crossing the street safely may seem like a basic skill that most people learn at a young age, but the Boston College Police Department (BCPD) has good reason to launch its new “Be Safe. Been Seen. Be Street Smart.” campaign.
“In the last few weeks, there have been four distinctively different accidents around campus, where pedestrians and bicyclists have been struck by a motor vehicle,” said Jeffery Postell, BCPD sergeant for community policing. “We want to be proactive and take the educational enforcement steps necessary to get ahead of this issue.”
Last week, BCPD officers were placed out in the crosswalks around campus with the goal of educating pedestrians, drivers, and bicyclists about crosswalk safety. Officers handed out cards that offered safety tips for pedestrians, including reminders to always cross at marked sidewalks, make eye contact with approaching drivers, and obey all pedestrian signals. The cards also reminded drivers to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, to wait until pedestrians have fully crossed crosswalks before moving, and to never pass another vehicle that has stopped at a crosswalk.
Although this advice is all very basic, reiterating these commonly cited tips is necessary in the hectic modern world. “Often times, we get so caught up in our daily lives and in technology, texting and listening to our music, or talking with others, that we don’t pay attention when we step off a curb that is 20 feet from a crosswalk and risk getting hit,” Postell said.
BCPD will continue its educational enforcement campaign in the upcoming weeks. “We are going to be partnering up with both the Newton Police and the Boston Police in the next couple weeks around campus and on the public streets surrounding campus for an educational enforcement campaign,” Postell said. This comes in the wake of a similar successful partnership last year, where BCPD teamed up with Newton police to place an undercover police officer in crosswalks as a pedestrian and cite any drivers who did not yield for this undercover officer. BCPD will not be placing any officers undercover next week, but it does hope to continue to educate drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists about crosswalk safety as successfully as last year.
Postell and the BCPD believe that bicyclists play just as vital of a role in crosswalk safety as drivers and pedestrians do. “Bicyclists are considered as vehicles,” Postell said. “They must yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk as well. They too must be observant of their riding style and habits. They have to be aware of their surroundings as well as be predictable. Giving the proper signals to stop and turn is crucial for their overall safety.”
In order to stress the bike safety aspects of this campaign, the BCPD set up a booth at Healthapolooza where bike officers instructed members of the BC community about bike safety and laws. These officers also spoke about crosswalk and pedestrian safety.
Another aspect of the “Be Safe. Been Seen. Be Street Smart.” campaign takes place in the residence halls. “We are also working through our Adopt-A-Cop program in residence halls to educate people on proper and safe crossing and riding,” Postell said.
Postell believes that all three categories of people that this campaign is trying to reach must work together in order to ensure crosswalk safety. “It takes the pedestrians, motorists, and bicyclists to ultimately keep each other safe by abiding by the rules and by taking the suggestions we have offered,” Postell said.
The message of the “Be Safe. Been Seen. Be Street Smart.” campaign is not just intended for students. “It’s just not young people getting distracted and crossing dangerously,” Postell said. “It’s our community and our society as a whole. Everyone needs to be reminded to stay focused and stay alert in a busy time where we, with the aid of technology, have become our own worst enemies.”