Volunteers hit campus to remind students of the rules of the road [Dispatch]

So far, police have not reported any car vs. skater crashes on High Street bordering the Ohio State University campus.
By  Encarnacion Pyle  and  Theodore Decker
Thursday September 13, 2012 6:20 AM
More than 200 volunteers in fluorescent green T-shirts are to descend on the busiest crosswalks and intersections on and around Ohio State University on Friday to distribute traffic-safety pamphlets. Their goal: to raise awareness because of a rash of crashes involving pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists.
“We want people to know that we have a problem and we all have a responsibility to solve it,” said Jay Kasey, OSU’s senior vice president for administration and planning.
In the past 2 1/2 weeks, there have been four incidents in which students were seriously hurt when struck while walking or riding bikes. A large-scale awareness campaign is the easiest and fastest way to get safe-travel tips to students and others, Kasey said.
From 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., groups of six to 10 volunteers are to be stationed at the 14 busiest intersections and crosswalks throughout the campus and nearby neighborhood. Volunteers also are to be at 20 other locations, including popular bike racks and parking lots and garages.
A task force of students and faculty and staff members is to review the university’s existing efforts and look for new opportunities to promote safe travel on campus. The group of about 25 people is to meet for the first time today and make recommendations by Oct. 1, said Kasey, who is leading the effort with Javaune Adams-Gaston, OSU’s vice president for student life.
Columbus police also are grabbing people’s attention with an enforcement blitz that began last weekend and is to pick up again this weekend. Starting last Friday, city police began citing pedestrians for jaywalking and looking for other traffic-related offenses along N. High Street.
The push was in part driven by street-level officers because of what they were seeing around campus. “When officers want to write pedestrian citations, that means it’s pretty bad,” said Columbus Police Cmdr. Chris Bowling, who oversees the police zone that includes the University District.
During Friday and Saturday evening, Columbus officers issued 241 citations, largely pedestrian-related.
Willful violators sometimes need the wake-up call that a citation and the accompanying financial hit provide, Bowling said. The maximum fine for an offense such as jaywalking is $100, plus court costs.
Officers also hope to strictly enforce traffic laws in the area this weekend with a focus on motorists and bicyclists, Bowling said.
OSU police are concentrating on educating the campus community and will wait for the recommendations from the task force before cracking down, OSU Police Chief Paul Denton said.
Students have mixed feelings about the stepped-up efforts.
“I think citing students is silly unless they’re obviously running across a busy street like High Street, darting between moving cars,” said Josh Shaffer, a 20-year-old electrical engineering major from Findlay.
Others said it would take a harsh penalty for many people to change their behavior. “I think it’s a great idea, as long as police are regulating both sides — motorists and pedestrians,” said Kayla Swain, a 21-year-old math major from Atlanta.
And many said they didn’t think distributing handbills will have much of an impact.