In the early morning hours today, a student riding a bicycle southbound on University Avenue was struck by a large car coming down 28th Street. It is the fifth bicycle-car accident this month, according to DPS logs.
Since the fall semester began, there have been nine traffic collisions in which a car collided with a pedestrian or person on a scooter, bicycle or skateboard. All of these accidents happened during daylight hours.
“The majority of collisions involving students both on and off campus are minor in nature and likely go unreported to DPS. Fortunately, student-injury traffic collisions are rare,” Assistant Chief of Public Safety David Carlisle said.
The student declined further medical attention and the incident was reported by witnesses rather than those involved. This is a trend, according to Carlisle and DPS logs.
Sierra Alben, a student at USC, bikes the intersection in the mornings and afternoons. Though she said she’s never had an issue on the road, she noted that she is in the minority of safe student bikers. After friends of hers have been hit before, she said she makes sure to ride without distractions like music and headphones and never at night.
Johnny Mendez, a bicycle mechanic at Three Brothers Bike Shop, said half of the shop’s business is USC students. Mendez said he has seen quite a few bikes damaged from car accidents and a plethora of unsafe bicyclists around the University.
Mendez, who has been hit by a car while biking himself, said the biggest mistake bikers make in these accidents is trusting the vehicle driver too much.
“A lot of cyclists think that drivers are going to stop for a cyclist, and a lot of times they don’t because they’re distracted, in a rush or impatient,” he said.
He advises students slow down and most importantly, wear a helmet. Mendez said he notices most students do not wear helmets.
“Students don’t consider it because: First, they don’t like the way they look with a helmet, and second, because they really don’t ride for that long,” he said.
Mendez and Carlisle also noted that students, especially those on wheels, need to remember to stop at stop signs and follow the rules of traffic.
“A lot of times, [cyclists are] in the blindspot. It’s difficult to see us, especially at night. It’s important to stop,” Mendez said.
Carlisle says that in order to avoid further injuries, students should dismount in intersections and heavily trafficked areas on campus between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and to limit their distractions.