Six students crossing the road at a crosswalk
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Walking, Biking, Driving or Scootering? Safety First!

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  • Our City/Our Campus

As Pitt continues to welcome students, faculty and staff to campus, traveling safely through Oakland has never been more important. Keep these reminders top of mind as you’re getting to classes or meetings this academic year.

Pedestrians

The University of Pittsburgh Police Department offers great tips to stay safe on or near Oakland streets, to ensure you’re able to safely get around campus — or anywhere — as a pedestrian. Always walk on sidewalks, and when they are not available, walk facing oncoming traffic while staying as far away from the road as possible. Given the mix of buses, bikes and other vehicles in Oakland, follow pedestrian walk signals at traffic lights and stay off electronic devices to remain focused on vehicles and others around you.

If walking near moving or stopped motor vehicles, never assume a driver sees you and be sure to make eye contact prior to crossing the street. The new mid-block crosswalk on Bigelow Boulevard is a great way to practice this skill, as hundreds of pedestrians cross these vehicle and bike lanes daily.

Image of cars with caption overlay saying "Walk in group and Wear a reflective vest when dark out"

Motorists/shared commuting

As a motorist, it is up to you to ensure street safety for other drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, microtransit users and other vehicles. Do your part to keep everyone safe by maintaining a three-second following distance for safe reaction to other vehicles. Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or entering crosswalk areas, yielding to pedestrians who have the right of way. If you become upset while driving, take time to calm down remember that the assault of a person or vehicle because of a traffic incident is a criminal offense punishable by law. Parking legally is important to being a good neighbor and making sure the sidewalks are accessible to all residents. Finally, be extra cautious when backing up or opening your vehicle door to ensure pedestrians or bicyclists are not in your path.

Bicyclists

Registering your bicycle with Bike Index provides a secure place to maintain bike details, and makes it easier for authorities to locate damaged or stolen bikes if needed. If you are riding to or around campus, register your bike for free today. Parking and Transportation Services also has resources, tips and Pennsylvania bicycle laws to stay safe alongside motorists and pedestrians.

Additional transportation modes

Electronic scooters are available for use on campus, but should be used keeping specific safety precautions in mind. They are prohibited to be ridden on sidewalks, riders must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and helmets are recommended for all riders. People should not operate electronic scooters on city streets impaired, as it could result in serious bodily injury and/or a DUI arrest. Review MovePGH resources to learn how to properly operate scooters in Oakland and beyond. Alternately, bicycles are also available for free, unlimited 30-minute rides through the University’s Healthy Ride program.

More resources

Pitt Police leads the Pedestrian and Traffic Safety Committee, bringing together campus and community leaders in a shared commitment to transportation safety throughout Oakland, while Pitt Sustainability leads the Active Mobility Committee on campus and Pitt’s Community Engagement team partners with the City of Pittsburgh on Pedestrian Safety Action Plan implementation.

Staff Council has hosted semi-annual Safety Crawls around Oakland designed to highlight safety concern points to University staff and administration, including advocating for improvements which were completed at the Fifth and Bellefield intersection. The group also hosted Healthy Ride tours of Oakland, introducing staff to the bicycles and free Healthy Ride benefit, as well as sharing bike safety tips with members.

We must all do our part to share the road and stay safe. To report a concern, contact the Pitt Concern Connection. For traffic violations and emergencies, contact Pitt Police at 412-624-2121. Pitt students, faculty, and staff can also report a traffic concern through the RaveGuardian app.

Learn more pedestrian and driving safety tips from NHTSA.

 

— Sarah Kegerreis