Stacie Philibert had stayed up all night revising an essay. It was the week before finals and that morning she received a phone call; her son had been struck by a vehicle and killed as he was crossing the street.
Philibert is a Central Oregon Community College alumna who lost her seven-year-old son in a vehicle vs. pedestrian accident in 2011. She now urges pedestrians take an extra second to make sure cars are going to stop when crossing the street.
All the crosswalks were visibly marked on her son’s route to the Madras Boys and Girls Club. According to Philibert, her sons had the “right to walk” when they crossed the street.
The driver was cited for careless driving and failure to yield to a pedestrian, according to KTVZ.
“The main street had a red light,” Philibert said. “The crossroad where the driver was had a green light, but [the driver] did not even check the crosswalk before turning.”
Pedestrian safety is a two-fold problem, according to COCC’s Campus Public Safety officer Jim Bennett.
“Pedestrians have the right of way,” Bennett said. “However, being attentive to vehicles around you is important.”
There are a lot of hazards on a college campus, Bennett explained, and pedestrians should never assume a vehicle is going to be able to stop on icy roads.
“Pedestrians should always keep this in mind on slick and slippery days,” Bennett said. “You can never be too sure.”
Oregon law does not require a vehicle to stop unless a portion of the pedestrian is on the roadway, according to Bend Police administrative lieutenant, Chris Carney.
Carney advises pedestrians to think about their environment.
“Take into consideration the colors of the road,” Carney said, “and make sure that your clothing does not blend in.”
Carney also cautions drivers to eliminate distractions while driving.
“It really comes down to the issues of distractive driving,” Carney said. “Having your mind occupied by thoughts besides driving can be just as dangerous as using a cellphone.”
Whether traveling by car or by foot, it is important to be aware of roadway crossings, according to Bennett who urges drivers to keep pedestrian safety in mind.