Right of way confusion causes two collisions

Look both ways-it’s a fundamental mantra of life on earth. Yielding to pedestrians is equally basic.Then again, when you repeat something over and over again, it tends to lose its poignancy, as demonstrated on North Dixie Avenue recently. During the past few weeks, two students were hit by vehicles while attempting to cross the street.

In response, the Executive Advisory Council addressed crosswalk safety on Tuesday, right after the graduation application process. Gay Shepherd, University Police Chief, attended the meeting and presented an outline of Tennessee pedestrian laws.

“Every SOAR I talk about being safe and looking both ways,” Shepherd said. “It goes back to elementary school.”

Both collisions happened at low speeds-Shepherd said 15 to 20 mph. Last Thursday, a Volkswagen Beetle hit a student on North Dixie Avenue near 12th Street. The Cookeville Police Department responded to the accident.

“The pedestrian stated that she saw the vehicle but thought she had time to cross,” policeman Ryan Moore said in his report. “The pedestrian was not in a marked crosswalk, and a witness stated that he only saw the victim in the air.”

The victim, a 20-year-old female, was transported to Cookeville Regional Medical Center with minor injuries.

“If you walk out in front of a car, you’re going to lose,” Shepherd said.

The campus police have responded by tightening down on speed limit enforcement. Shepherd said she isn’t sure how the EAC will handle the matter.

“I don’t know if they’re going to try to put more crosswalks in or not,” she said.

The other collision happened on Oct. 8, when a Honda Accord hit a pedestrian in the crosswalk near the Bryan Fine Arts Building, also on North Dixie Avenue. The driver and the pedestrian were both young, female students. The victim, who walked away with a bruised leg, did not wish to press charges.

“She probably didn’t want to cause a lot of drama,” Shepherd said, flipping through pictures of the incident on her phone. “Some people are like that.”

Tennessee law states, “No pedestrian shall leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.” Any pedestrians crossing the street not using a crosswalk must yield to moving vehicles already on the street.

“It comes down to the earliest thing that we’ve all learned,” Shepherd said. “Look both ways before you cross the street.