Officials speak on pedestrian and bicyclist safety on University Drive

WAFF 48's D'Quan Lee reporting
Published: Aug. 18, 2023 at 7:40 PM CDT

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - University Drive remains one of the busiest roads in north Alabama and it seems like there are crashes daily between cars, pedestrians and cyclists.

”Sometimes, walking that extra distance... It’s not going to save you time, but it might save your life,” said Alabama Department of Transportation spokesperson Seth Burkett.

Don Webster with HEMSI said just for the year alone, they’ve responded to nearly 180 crash calls for University Drive. For the crashes involving pedestrians, he said most accidents have one thing in common.

“They’re not in the crosswalks. They’re not even -- a lot of them, most of them -- are not even close to the crosswalks,” Webster said. He also said they see more bicyclists hit than pedestrians, with EMTs responding to the most calls between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., adding that the accidents can be traumatizing for drivers, as well.

“If I hit somebody, even though it’s not my fault, there’s no at-fault about it. It’s traumatizing to me to know that I’ve hurt or much less killed another human being,” Webster said.

Burkett with ALDOT said they work hand-in-hand with the city on University Drive. He stressed that bikers and pedestrians use crosswalks every time to avoid collisions.

“You’re taking your life in your hand when you try and cross a six-lane highway like that,” he said.

He pointed to concrete islands as a sort of safety measure to give pedestrians who insist on crossing the street, some room to breathe.

“We did place some of those with the thought in mind that they could provide a harbor for pedestrians that are trying to cross the street,” Webster said. “Not that we’re encouraging that, but it gives them an area to get out of traffic so that you don’t have that center turn lane that they’re also trying to cross.”

Click Here to Subscribe on YouTube: Watch the latest WAFF 48 news, sports & weather videos on our YouTube channel!