A crowd of students surrounds you; you go with the flow and then you see that you have come to a street. The mass continues to walk across the street, but you also notice there are several cars waiting at the intersection to move forward.
Students are behind you with no real sign of the flow coming to a stop.
Idaho state law requires that vehicles yield the right of way to pedestrians. But is that best in situations with a constant flow of pedestrian crossing?
This can be a problem BYU-Idaho students face, particularly right after devotional at the intersection of First West and West Viking Street. More commonly recognized as, the intersection right outside of the BYU-Idaho Center and The Burg.
Installing a traffic light might be something nice, but at this point in time it is not something that can be considered for many intersections in Rexburg.
“The total cost to install a signal is approximately $300,000,” said Rexburg Mayor Jerry Merrill, in an email. “The City of Rexburg doesn’t have that much money available for all the intersections we would like to signalize.”
Crossing the street in a smart manor is up to us.
So… whose turn is it anyway?
The City of Rexburg recently made three videos featuring two college students discussing crosswalk safety in a humorous way. The videos showed things that both pedestrians and drivers can do to make crossing the street less hazardous.
- First: Avoid distractions.
In Rexburg, it is illegal to cross the street while texting. Many people are aware of the $76.50 fine for jaywalking, but are you also aware of the $101.50 fine for texting while crossing a crosswalk?
If it is a second offense, the fine is $201.50.
Be alert when crossing the road and make sure that you make eye contact with the driver so you both know what is going on.
- Second: Always try to cross in groups.
If you come to a crosswalk and notice others close behind you going in the same direction, pause and cross with them.
Be courteous to the driver.
If there is a situation where there are hundreds of students crossing at the same time, like after devotional, for example, try to cross in groups of 10 to 15. Then, let a few cars go through.
“Sometimes students are just walking across, and across, and across and the cars are waiting there for a decent amount of time,” said Ben Stevens, a junior studying biology.
Be aware of drivers and how long people have been walking across the street without a car going.
- Third: If you are a driver, make yourself aware of your surroundings.
Stevens recalled a time when he saw a pedestrian crossing the street and was almost hit by a car. The driver had not noticed the flashing lights. It is important to know when you are approaching a crosswalk and to make sure no one is on the street.
Be aware of other public traffic laws. Texting while driving is an offense, and you can be fined $133.