By: Chris Cox
Posted: Oct. 4, 2010, 2 p.m.
A recent string of car-bicycle accidents on the University of South Carolina campus has some people questioning who's to blame on the now dangerous campus streets.
There have been three separate accidents involving cars and cyclists on campus over the last two weeks. The USC Police Department says that's what they normal investigate in a semester.
"I would say it's about fifty-fifty. Sometimes it's the pedestrians fault, sometimes it's the driver's fault," said Eric Grabski of the USC Police Department. "It doesn't matter whether you're driving or not. What you really need to do is take responsibility for your own safety."
The most recent occurrence came Sept. 23 when a cyclist was hit at the corner of Blossom and Assembly Street near the Carolina Coliseum. The biker received the walk signal while the driver, who was making a right turn, had the green light as well.
"Sometimes we get aggravated or upset, but it's not so much being aggravated and upset and stop for a vehicle that's coming or stop for a pedestrian or cyclist than cause an accident," Grabski said.
While Grabski credits both drivers and bikers as the cause for the accidents, USC students are taking a more direct approach in whom to blame.
"I think a lot of the drivers are a little bit reckless," said James Kratch, a third-year English student. "They drive too fast, they try to thread the needle at times with a lot of traffic going on, a lot of bystanders, pedestrians. By and large, I'd say the driving is pretty shaky on campus.
Others, like senior cyclist Paul Bowers, are pointing the finger at those on bikes.
"I do see a lot of reckless cyclists. I think if we're going to be a traffic we need to obey the laws and the traffic regulations," Bowers said. "I'll see guys on bikes blow through a red light because they don't think it applies to them. I think sometimes the big problem is the people on bikes themselves."
But no matter who is to blame, Grabski wants pedestrians to be aware of their surroundings to help cut down on the most recent flurry of collisions.
"The good rule of thumb is that if you don't make eye contact with someone, whether you're a student about to cross the street looking at a vehicle that's coming, or a vehicle crossing an intersection where there's people crossing, don't assume that those folks are seeing you. The best bet is to prevent something from happening and slow down."