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Recent OSU bike-truck accident puts safety focus on cyclists

An incident in which an Ohio State University (OSU) student riding his bike on campus earlier this month was seriously injured in a bicycle-truck accident has galvanized much of the student body and local bicycle safety groups. Moreover, it has focused strong attention on the vulnerability of bicyclists and the need for enhanced safety awareness and measures around campus environs, given the school's large bike-riding population.

Bicycle accidents are certainly no rarity at OSU, one of the largest and most bike-friendly campuses in the country. Most of them are minor fender benders or mere spills, though, with serious injuries being a relatively rare occurrence. In fact, an exceedingly high percent of accidents involving bicyclists on the campus occur when a bike rider simply tips over or makes slight contact with a pedestrian.

The one that occurred on September 4, though, was far more serious in nature, with the student rider -- an 18-year-old male from Ohio -- colliding with a construction dump truck that was entering a construction site. The student was riding on a campus sidewalk when the accident occurred. He was pronounced in critical condition at the time of the media report chronicling the incident.

Riding on sidewalks on the campus is disallowed, but many students say they do it anyway, citing it is a generally safer alternative.

"I think I make a lot of people mad doing it, but I feel a little bit more safe doing it," says one cyclist.

One bike advocacy group -- termed Yay Bikes! -- has implemented a campus program called "How We Roll" that focuses on imparting safe biking behaviors to the large riding population at OSU.

OSU administrators duly lament the recent accident and pledge an ongoing focus on campus safety.

Source: NBC4i.com, "Group urges Ohio State bicyclists to stay safe after crash," Steve Wainfor, Sept. 6, 2012

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