Corvallis Police Department issues advice to keep residents safe on roadways

The Corvallis community has suffered multiple collisions involving our Corvallis citizens and an OSU student in the past two months alone. 

On Sept. 5, a collision involving three pedestrians and a driver occurred on Hwy 99, and on Sept. 26, a collision with a pedestrian crossing the intersection of NW 26th St. and NW Harrison Blvd. was named a hit-and-run. On Sept. 28, a collision resulting in a fatality took place on Hwy 99.

Moving forward, OSU’s Public Safety Department and Corvallis Police Department have advice to keep everyone safe on and near roads. 

According to Jim Yon, lieutenant of the OSU Public Safety Department, the issue of collisions has become increasingly worse with cellular devices.

“Be mindful of where you’re at, and look up at where you’re going as a pedestrian or driver,” Yon said.

As a pedestrian, Yon suggests taking the few extra steps to a crosswalk as it’s a designated area to cross the street. Before and during the cross, always make eye contact with the driver to ensure it’s safe to continue forward.

“If you’re going to wear headphones, wear one of the earpieces so that your other ear is able to hear a vehicle or traffic, so it just adds one of your senses to help you be more aware while you’re walking, especially in traffic,” said Lieutenant and Public Information Officer Gabe Sapp of the CPD.

Both Sapp and Yon believe that bikers and scooters should practice defensive driving and take extra precautions near areas of heavy traffic.

Defensive driving is important because bikes and scooters often collide with pedestrians. Yon said that many pedestrians have been injured by bicyclists. 

Drivers can be distracted by cellular devices, have medical episodes, or suffer other issues that cause accidents.

According to Sapp, after COVID-19, drivers became accustomed to less foot traffic as there were less pedestrians walking and biking to work or class.

As a driver, Yon suggests never exceeding 20 mph while on campus, have your head on a swivel, be aware of students who cross without using crosswalks. If you have an electric car, then remember they are silent and many pedestrians won’t hear you coming. 

“Be aware that cars don’t always stop at stop signs and instead do the ‘California Roll,’” Yon said.

According to Yon, a dangerous area for traffic is the front of the Kerr building coming off of 14th St. 

At night, Yon said to wear brighter colors as a walker or biker. Fog, darkness and shrubbery makes it difficult for cars to see pedestrians.

“A flashlight at night never hurts when walking at night,” Yon said.

According to Sapp, pedestrians and motorists should always consider times of limited visibility such as dusk, dawn, fog, rain, the position of the sun or darkness and how they can limit or hinder visibility.

Pedestrians do not have any type of protection, so as a pedestrian you are going to be on the losing end of a crash, if a car does collide with you,” Sapp said. 

If you see an accident, Yon suggests standing by until the police and paramedics arrive at the scene. They will ask for your name and number for contact later because a great witness helps the police identify what happened later on during the investigation. 

“We need to get back into that mindset of safety and looking out for each other. It’s gonna take everybody, both the people that are driving and the pedestrians and bicyclists,” Sapp said.

CPD aims to keep pedestrians safe and is currently running an action plan that focuses patrols at crosswalks which will continue to occur. 

They currently run a traffic management plan to track traffic problems to address, leading to presence, education, and enforcement that aims to reduce collisions at the top 10 intersections within the Corvallis community.


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