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ISU adds dismount zones after fatal bicycle-pedestrian crash

Octagon shaped road sign with the words "Walk your wheels Dismount Zone" affixed to a pole.
Eric Stock
Illinois State University has established dismount zones near the university quad and other areas of high-pedestrian traffic.

Illinois State University is taking a step to improve pedestrian safety by implementing dismount zones in high foot traffic areas.

The dismount zones are scattered around the edges of the quad, making them pedestrian-only. The zones feature signage that says to “walk your wheels.”

The university crafted the policy for dismount zones after Adam Peck, who worked at ISU as an assistant vice president for student affairs, died in September 2022 following an on-campus crash with a bicyclist.

“We’re trying to shift the culture and campus awareness of the potential danger to pedestrians on our campus,” said Martha Horst, ISU Academic Senate chair. “If you’re riding an e-bike and you’re going 20 miles, 30 miles an hour, it’s really not safe.”

Horst said outreach will include a student ambassador campaign where students will work with emergency management and the ISU police to inform students about pedestrian safety near the dismount zones. The new rules allow for penalties, but Horst said the university doesn’t plan to fine violators, at least not yet.

“Technically the policy does say if you violate it, you’re subject to some sort of penalty, they would be violating a university policy,” Horst said. “But there’s not going to be people chasing people on bikes and saying, ‘Hey you, you’re violating the dismount zone policy.’ The focus is going to be on awareness and student-to-student education.”

Horst said that there was discussion of banning bicycles and motorized vehicles entirely on campus, but the Academic Senate decided that the dismount zone policy is where it wanted to start.

“We can’t predict Segways, motorized skateboards, a lot of these weren’t around even five years ago,” Horst said. “We’re just trying to create a zone of pedestrian safety, and this is the approach we’re using for the foreseeable future.”

Horst said that there also is concern and discussion with the Academic Senate’s planning and finance committee about transportation and pedestrian safety related to the new College of Engineering being located across Main Street, further away from the quad.

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Megan Spoerlein is a reporting intern at WGLT. She started in 2023. Megan is also studying journalism at Illinois State University.
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