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Pedestrian, Traffic, and Bicycle Safety

What are the laws as they relate to pedestrians?

The laws regarding pedestrian safety can be found in the Illinois Vehicle Code. The law is simply this: Pedestrians may NOT leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a moving vehicle which is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard (625ILCS 5/11-1002(b)). Simply put, as a pedestrian you do NOT have the right of way in a crosswalk unless you have first established yourself in the intersection and given oncoming traffic the opportunity to slow down and react to your presence. Many persons falsely believe that anytime you step into a crosswalk you automatically have the right of way, and that is not correct. You must give a vehicle adequate distance to stop before stepping into the crosswalk and expecting the right of way.

At signalized intersections, DON’T WALK means DON’T WALK. If you are not in the crosswalk by the time the signal flashes "Don’t Walk", then you are violating the law. The "countdown" signals remind pedestrians who are already in the crosswalk how much time they have left to safely clear the intersection. Any time you enter a crosswalk when the signal is displaying "Don’t Walk", you are violating the law and are subject to receiving a citation for violating the law.

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Do the "Yield to Pedestrian" signs on campus change the rules on who has the right of way?

The "Yield to Pedestrian" signs erected in many places on campus are there to alert drivers to the high concentration of pedestrians and to drive very carefully. They do not give pedestrians any more right of way than at any other crosswalk.

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What should I do as a driver on campus to protect myself as well as pedestrians and bicyclists?

As a driver on campus, you need to be aware that if you are approaching a marked crosswalk, pedestrians DO have the right of way if they have established themselves in that crosswalk. The only time that is not applicable is if the "Don’t Walk" signal is illuminated. For safety purposes, the Division of Public Safety asks you to please be attentive, patient and courteous when driving in the campus district. It is an incredibly busy district and pedestrians, bicyclists, skateboarders and roller-bladers appear often without warning. A moment of patience could save you a lifetime of regret.

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What is the actual speed limit in the campus district?

The speed limit in the campus district is 25 miles per hour. There are exceptions to the 25 mile per hour speed limit, but only on main thoroughfares such as First Street, Kirby/Florida Avenue, Springfield Avenue and Lincoln Avenue. On all other roadways and arterial streets, the speed limit is 25 miles per hour. If you are unsure, it is much wiser (and safer) to observe the 25 mph speed limit.

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What do I do if I am involved in or observe an accident or dangerous behavior?

If you observe dangerous behavior or an accident requiring the authorities, call 911. This connects you to METCAD, the dispatching agency for all police, fire and EMS entities in the Campus District. If you are unsure as to whether or not the incident requires emergency services, it is better to call and it not be necessary than to not call and delay the response to what could be a very significant incident.

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What are the rights and responsibilities of bicyclists?

Bicycles are an important and popular mode of transportation on campus. With the high volume of vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians on the campus, it is important that bicyclists ride safely and obey Illinois traffic laws. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, each year there are about 900 bicycle-related deaths in the United States and another half a million bicycle-related injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms.

The best way to avoid accidents is to be prepared and be aware of other vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians around you. The University of Illinois Division of Public Safety encourages bicyclists to follow the following safety tips:

Illinois law permits bicyclists to ride on the road or sidewalk; however, a bicyclist’s responsibilities/requirements are different for each. Persons operating a bicycle on a roadway are treated as "vehicles," and are required to obey all of the traffic laws pertaining to vehicular traffic. Ride your bicycle as a car should be driven. Persons operating a bicycle on the sidewalk are treated as "pedestrians," and are required to obey all the traffic laws pertaining to pedestrians. In addition, when walking or riding your bicycle on a sidewalk you must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and give an audible signal before overtaking and passing them.

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