STATEMENT ON ROAD SAFETY
UB students participated in a peaceful demonstration today to highlight grave concerns regarding pedestrian safety in the area of the Oakes Field Campus, particularly the crossing near the Michael H. Eldon complex. Unfortunately, motorists have struck several students who were attempting to cross University Drive on that same pedestrian crossing. The latest incident occurred on Wednesday, 24th January 2018. Though injured, the student is thankfully recovering.
Due to the nature of the Oakes Field Campus, traversing public roads is a necessary part of the daily movements of many students, faculty and staff. Therefore, a safe and secure environment is imperative as the members of our community move about. UB has continued to work with the Ministry of Works and other authorities to increase road safety mechanisms. In recent months, UB has purchased and installed pedestrian crossing lights. An education campaign will be launched shortly to encourage habitual use of those lights. Road markings and signage have been improved. Yet, the challenge of motorists who speed and are distracted persists.
In the most recent development, the government has advised that a joint task force is being convened to recommend the implementation of the best road safety measures to protect pedestrians, keeping in mind the urgency of the matter. As a matter of priority, UB has already provided critical information that will help to inform the work of the task force. We will advise the University community and the public as progress is made. Among the recommendations proposed for consideration and implementation are:-
•Implementing an exclusive pedestrian zone on University Drive – from University Commons to the roundabout at Nassau Street. This will require a more formal communication for the consideration of the Cabinet of The Bahamas;
•Installing road islands near the Oakes Field Campus to prevent motorists from overtaking near pedestrian crossings;
•Relocating the bus stop on University Drive opposite the Michael H. Eldon facility to another location where parked buses do not obstruct full view of the pedestrian crossing.
As we work to raise awareness about road safety, especially in pedestrian zones, some of our Communication and Creative Arts students will be creating public service announcements that will be played in the local media.
The wider Bahamian community shares our concerns, as the number of traffic fatalities last year was, sadly, too high. Worldwide, a clarion call has been issued for road users to be more vigilant. We urge drivers in The Bahamas – particularly New Providence – to observe speed limits, road signs and exercise extreme caution on our streets. Improving road safety is a collective responsibility that we all must share as a community and a country.