September 17, 2008

Police urge caution when traveling on campus

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- As everyone settles into the school year, Southern Illinois University Carbondale officials are again urging students, faculty, staff and visitors to exercise caution when traveling on campus.

Five weeks into the fall 2008 semester, there have been two collisions involving bicyclists who were crossing streets, and motor vehicles. Each accident occurred within the last two weeks; in both instances, the bicyclists were not injured.

SIUC police officer Scott Miller reminds bicyclists they are to follow applicable Illinois Vehicle Code rules for bicycles, including obeying all regulatory traffic signs. Bicyclists must also follow University rules and regulations, which include walking bicycles through crosswalks and other designated areas, and yielding to pedestrians.

Bicyclists need to exercise due care and proceed safely, Miller said. They should not think that vehicles “are going to stop for them, or that they automatically have the right of way,” he said.

In September 2001, a 26-year-old SIUC student died attempting to cross the street on her bicycle. The tragedy resulted in the campus speed limit being reduced to 20 mph.

Bicyclists should have both hands on handlebars to maintain control unless using appropriate hand signals when turning, said SIUC police Sgt. Kenneth W. Sneed, who sees some bicyclists using one hand to steer and the other to hold cellular telephones and talk. Sneed said bicyclists need to drive defensively, pay attention in areas where they are to walk their bikes, including the Wham and Faner Hall breezeways, and also watch for pedestrians and motorists.

To review the rights and duties of bicyclists and pedestrians under the Illinois Motor Vehicle Code, go to Click on the Illinois Vehicle Code link, and then go to Chapter 11, Article X for pedestrian rights, and Article XV for passenger’s rights.

Pedestrians are also required to use care when crossing streets, including looking both ways, using crosswalks, and making eye contact with motorists to make sure they see you before starting to cross the street.

Bicycle registration with the Department of Public Safety is required for bicycles on campus. Registration is free. Miller also notes registered bicycles are potentially easier to find if they are stolen.

Additional information on bicycle regulations on campus is available at For additional information, contact the Department of Public Safety at 618/453-3771.