By Alison Eddy
Western’s Central Health and Safety Committee, along with the Theatre Department, put on the Travel with Care Awareness event in Red Square on Wednesday, May 23 to remind students about pedestrian safety.
The Travel with Care Awareness event staged two simulated accidents at opposite ends of Red Square near Wilson Library and Miller Hall.
These simulated accidents involved actors with stage makeup, placed in scenarios in which they appeared to had been hurt in transportation accidents on campus.
Signs were placed by the simulated accidents to inform people of the event and to reaffirm that the accidents were not real.
Administrative Assistant to Provost Melinda Assink is a member of the Central Health and Safety Committee. Assink said she hopes to draw attention to the “dismount zone” that is in effect in Red Square.
“We want people to get off their bikes and get off their skateboards, especially during passing periods, because it so dangerous when there is a lot of people here,” Assink said.
Signs throughout Red Square remind students that it is a dismount zone, but are often ignored. The dismount zone in Red Square requires all bicyclists and skateboarders to dismount and walk through Red Square.
During the event, the event coordinators told several skateboarders to dismount their skateboards as they rode right past the simulated accidents.
“It is amazing how when you speak to people across campus, almost everyone has a story about almost being injured or being injured,” Assink said.
Junior Zacharee Simms was one of the theater majors who acted in the simulated accidents. He said he has personally almost been hit by a bicyclist.
“I really hope it opens people’s eyes and makes them realize that the walk zones exist for a specific purpose,” Simms said.
Simms said he liked being a part of radical theater and participating in an event that impacts the campus.
“I was super psyched to get to do a piece that meant something,” Simms said. “Theater for a cause is always really cool.”
Junior Caelin Schaefer said he rides his bike everywhere throughout campus and doesn’t dismount it until he gets to class.
“I have avoided a couple [of] incidents where I almost clipped a certain person,” Schaefer said.
Schaefer was one of the bystanders who witnessed the event, and he said he spoke to different participants in the event to learn more about it.
“This event brought me more awareness to the incidents that happen and how people are affected by bicyclists and skateboarders who aren’t being safe enough,” Schaefer said.
Schaefer said he will start being a little more careful, cautious and considerate when he is riding through campus. He also said he does not want to get a ticket for riding in the dismount zones if more campus police are going to be present.
Assink said the health and safety committee is going to try and conduct targeted outreach projects after the event, as well as try to provide statistics about the number of accidents that occur on campus.
For more information about where to ride on campus and for maps outlining the different zones, go to Western’s Sustainable Transportation website.