Virginia Tech launched a new program to educate Hokies and community members about the safest way to travel on foot, on bike, or by bus or car to keep their heads up and pay attention to their surroundings.
“Our goal is to make folks more aware that they need to pay attention when they are traveling across campus and the town,” said Debby Freed, manager of Alternative Transportation at Virginia Tech. “We want them to be alert, act predictably, and minimize distractions.”
At Virginia Tech, 88 percent of resident students, 67 percent of off-campus students, and 42 percent of employees rely on alternative modes of transportation, such as biking, walking, transit, and carpool. The Heads Up Hokies campaign reminds the community that all modes are equally responsible for safety while traveling.
Nationally, the five-year trend for bicyclist fatalities rose to 743 death in 2013 — the highest since 2009, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Pedestrian fatalities rose to 4,735 in 2013. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Transportation reports that 76,000 pedestrians and 49,000 bicyclists were injured in 2012.
The Heads Up Hokies campaign encourages Hokies in the following ways:
In a car
- Don't text and drive. Texting and driving is illegal in Virginia, and it's dangerous.
- Watch for pedestrians, particularly in crosswalks and near sidewalks.
- Watch for people on bikes. They may be in bike lanes or take the full lane. Become familiar with cycling signals (turn and breaking signals).
On a bike
- Use proper signaling.
- Yield to pedestrians and remember that bicycle use of sidewalks is prohibited in some areas of downtown Blacksburg.
- Watch for pedestrians, particularly in crosswalks but also near sidewalks.
- Watch for people driving and act predictably, particularly when taking a full lane.
- Act predictably, particularly when crossing a road.
- Watch for people on bikes and become familiar with cycling signals (turn and breaking signals).
In addition to signage around campus, the Office of Alternative Transportation is distributing bumper stickers , bicycle stickers, and other promotional merchandise. Bumper stickers and bike stickers are available in the Parking and Transportation Office on the ground floor of the Perry Street Parking Garage.
To learn more about the campaign, visit the Alternative Transportation website or call 540-231-2116.