Students rally for pedestrian safety

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— Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Memorial University of Newfoundland Students’ Union held a rally today with student Bailey Oake, Memorial University’s Faculty of Education, and community, to advocate for safer crosswalks in St. John’s.

A news release notes that Oake, a student in Memorial University’s Faculty of Education, on Dec. 8, 2011, Oake was hit by a car when crossing Westerland Road. She was thrown four metres from the crosswalk, resulting in three broken vertebrae and the loss of what would have been her final semester in school.

Oake has undergone invasive surgery to stabilize the trauma to her back, risking paralysis.

“At the age of 23 the life I knew was ripped from me” said Bailey Oake. “Day by day I work to rebuild a new self and to accept what has happened to me. It is only now that I am finding the strength and courage to share my story.”

Oake is one of many people who have been victims of vehicle-pedestrian accidents on and around campus.

Memorial University Students’ union is concerned for the safety of its members and is raising awareness to the seriousness of accidents that occur here.

The release states that after almost one year since this accident occurred, the City of St. John’s has made little headway in ensuring the safety of students, faculty, staff and members of the community who use this crosswalk daily.

The Memorial community is calling on the city to install an overhead crosswalk signal, to install speed bumps and to lower speed limits.

Organizations: Memorial University of Newfoundland Students, University Students

Geographic location: Westerland Road

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Recent comments

  • Suzie
    December 06, 2012 - 06:00

    I have been out around mun lots of times and some students are just walking up the road and then decides they are just gonna cross without even stopping or looking. You have to give drivers a chance to know that you are going to cross the street.

  • Fred
    December 05, 2012 - 09:06

    Clearly safety is everyone's responsibility. Drivers need to be aware of pedestrians and pedestrians need to be aware of drivers. Just as a driver should not drive while texting, a pedistrian should not cross the road while short, everyone needs to pay attention when using the public road system. Only YOU can prevent accidents.

  • Just Think
    December 05, 2012 - 08:50

    i have had some near misses on Westerland. Students really need to learn some traffic / redestrian safety. No matter what drivers do, pedestrians still have some responsibility. 1) Stop and Look both ways, get off the cell and txt. 2) Wait for a break in traffic, cars can not stop on a dime if you walk in front of them. 3) Pay attention, don't be lost in your own world with head phones in. 4) Use sidewalks, even in the winter they might not be perfect, but better than risking an accident. 5) Use crosswalks, they are in visible spots where it is safe for drivers to stop. 6) If you have to walk on the street, walk single file and reduce the risk place on the person walking two abreast. 7) Obey traffic signals, they tell you if it is safe to cross. Cross on green, not red. 8) When crossing at a corner, look at what can be coming around the corner the is as important as looking both ways. 9) Cross at 90 degree angles, this way you get off the road sooner.

  • Young Voice of Reason
    December 05, 2012 - 04:53

    MAYBEL as a student I have to be fair. MUN is not the problem. Its not MUN's road. They have a pedestrian overpass which links the Aquarena to the Field House. The city of St. John's is responsible for Westerland Road. I think the city could do more like: Provide more lighting at crosswalks- yes they have flashing amber lights but flood light the crosswalks as these are heavy traffic areas. In winter they should clear at least one sidewalk on Newtown Road. Alot of students (me included) have to walk that daily and in winter we are forced onto the road. There are plenty of tunnels and pedestrian over passes on Prince Philip Drive, There should be no crosswalks allowed crossing a 4 lane highway as it is only luck more people have not been struck trying to cross there. On campus I would like to see speed bumps especially around the residences and on Artic Ave. Thank you.

  • amanda
    December 04, 2012 - 22:15

    Over head lights wont mean anything. Me and my fiance were stopped on Kings Bridge Road at the overhead lights for the cross walk. Three boys no more then the age of 12 were crossing the road. The vehicle behind me was a black SUV and he was impatient that i was stopped so he went around me and almost struck one of the boys. In fact he would have had the boy not jumped back. He never even slammed on his breaks he just kept moving. I would have called it in but i didnt get his plate number. It was ridiculous! It's not the city. The drivers in this city are mad! We need to be more cautious of our driving and pay more attention. Had that been a mother pushing a stroller the stroller would have been struck. I see people walking across busy streets all the time and not in a cross walk. But the ones who are in the cross walks are in just as much danger because no one pays attention.

  • Harold
    December 04, 2012 - 20:09

    st. john's boasts of being an oil boom city, now spend some oil $$ and put in some pedestrian overpasses. don't expect all drivers in st. john's to be alert and curtious toward pedestrians even if the pedestrian has the right of way. advice to the students. your families want you home safely, please be careful

  • A driver
    December 04, 2012 - 18:30

    I am a driver,a very careful one,there are alot of nasty drivers out there I drive though there on an everyday basis to my job at the HSC yes I see alot of bad drivers and I see an awful lot of students jumping lights,just to cross the street,if I,m not mistaken are these over head walking tunnels put there to make it easier to cross the roads,I know it's sometimes out of your way to walk a little bit farther,but us drivers have to drive around we can,t take a short cut and jump the media.So all around walking with your eyes peeled also,wear defective clothing at night .At 5 pm it's pretty dark and you are not seen in time.I watched the news tonight when they brought up the accident the summer that took the life of a young girl.Like the young one who ran across the road by Wendy,s this summer neither were on cross walks.Be are I'll kids as much as us drivers has to be carefull.Not that we can,t see and should not be driving sometimes it is hard to see people on crosswalks when they are dressed in dark colors.

    December 04, 2012 - 15:42


  • Dan
    December 04, 2012 - 15:38

    Brad, the "responsibility here" is on the driver of the massive vehicle travelling too far in an are heavily used by tax paying pedestrians. We who walk deserve the same respect as those of you who drive. Don't cloud this issue and for god sake show this young courageous women some respect. Period

  • Maybel
    December 04, 2012 - 14:27

    I cross this road multiple times everyday - and I witness impatient and distracted drivers failing to stop almost everytime. I've had drivers go around me when I'm already halfway across the road. I've had drivers stop for me, then honk their horns at me for walking across (they expect me to run?). Whenever it snows, the majority of drivers conveniently forget that the crosswalk is there at all. I frequently see drivers cut off pedestrians only to speed up and stop, to spend more time sitting at a red light! This road goes through a university campus. It should not be treated as a thoroughfare. The entire section should be a pedestrian right-of-way. Police should be stationed there to enforce traffic safety and actually ticket dangerous and distracted drivers. Oake should be blaming the university and the RNC for her accident. They've known that this was a dangerous part of campus for a very long time - but they ignore it.

  • Bradley
    December 04, 2012 - 14:17

    Brad, this accident was infact not the pedistrian's fault. All drivers have to yeild at a crosswalk for a pedistrian. There is no grey area here. This accident happended on the campus of the university, between the Education building and the Aquarena. This young woman is trying to raise awarness as the issue of bad driving is not as easily corrected as brighter crosswalks, speed bumps, etc. If you cannot see people at crosswalks, get your eyes checked, or leave your vehicles at home.

    • Brad
      December 04, 2012 - 15:24

      Clearly you have not read the first sentence of my post, and have not driven in the downtown area where it is common people jump out to cross the street in between parked cars where there's no crosswalk. Perhaps you need your eyes checked.

  • Dan
    December 04, 2012 - 14:11

    Erect some lighting in that area, its very dark there and hard to see people. Also students PLEASE be very aware of your surroundings, drivers in this city are some of the worst I have seen. Be careful out there!

  • Brad
    December 04, 2012 - 13:45

    Not saying this particular case was the pedestrian's fault...but... Pedestrians need to get their act together when crossing the road. I have seen too many instances where they just think they can walk on because the rules on the road protect them even though they aren't in crosswalks, crossing even though they do not have a walk signal, or just going even though they jump out from behind a car dt without the driver getting a chance to stop, or wearing dark clothes. Remember the basic rule, If you can't see me, I can't see you! Do not cross the road until you can look the driver in the eyes, and don't rely on the rules to protect you, it's still not going to prevent a nasty injury, I'll be the first person to say there are many dangerous/stupid drivers on NL's roads, but there is only so much drivers can do. Pedestrians also need to take a degree of responsibility here.