Campus News

Pedestrian safety requires ongoing vigilance

Student walking.
Mark Cornelison | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 17, 2023) — University and campus safety officials are taking steps to reinforce the importance of remaining vigilant when driving or walking on area streets. 

The University of Kentucky Police Department, in partnership with UK Transportation Services and other campus partners, is monitoring areas with high pedestrian traffic and more frequent vehicle accidents to better understand potential risks. Two recent pedestrian-involved accidents only reinforce the already strong commitment to the process of educating and raising awareness among all members of the campus community regarding how best to stay safe. 

“We are always looking for ways to enhance the safety of members of our community,” UK Police Chief Joe Monroe said.

While UK is a pedestrian-focused campus, motor vehicle drivers and pedestrians can coexist, provided proper safety measures are followed. Below are some tips for both drivers and pedestrians to help avoid future accidents:

Tips for drivers

  • Follow all traffic rules, including the designated speed limit.
  • Always stop for pedestrians and provide adequate clearance, even if they’re in a marked crosswalk.
  • Be alert that pedestrians may be walking in unexpected areas.
  • Don’t drive distracted or impaired.
  • Before making a turn, look in all directions for pedestrians or bicyclists that may be in your path and be aware of potential blind spots.
  • Be especially cautious during poor driving conditions, which can make it difficult to see pedestrians and bicyclists.
  • Never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk, as they may be stopped for pedestrians.
  • Never attempt to “beat the light,” as pedestrians may have already started crossing the road.
  • Consider taking advantage of UK’s campus bus system for trips around campus; this can help reduce traffic congestion.

Safety tips for pedestrians

  • Always cross at marked crosswalks or intersections; this is where drivers anticipate pedestrians.
  • Don’t rely solely on pedestrian signals; look in both directions before crossing the road.
  • Remain vigilant and look both ways before stepping off the sidewalk.
  • Never assume that drivers see you, even if you have the right of way. They could be distracted or impaired, or their blind spot may block visibility.
  • When walking at night, use designated crosswalks that are well lit.
  • Always make eye contact with drivers to ensure you are seen.
  • Wear bright or reflective clothing if walking in low-light conditions.
  • Make sure you have enough time to cross if the light is counting down.
  • Stand clear of buses, hedges, parked cars and other obstacles before crossing the street so that you are visible.
  • Obey traffic signals and Walk/Don’t Walk signs.

Walking remains one of the safest and easiest ways to traverse UK's campus, but precautions are always warranted. By following these simple safety precautions, motor vehicle drivers and pedestrians can safely coexist.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.