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Ohio State, Gee create task force to tackle campus road, traffic safety

In light of the recent string of on-campus accidents, Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee issued a statement late Friday afternoon urging the OSU community to “use these recent incidents as a reminder of the need to exercise caution and sound judgment when traveling on campus-area sidewalks and roads.”

Gee also revealed that the university plans to tackle the issue of road and traffic safety by assembling a task force consisting of students, faculty members and staff.

“I have asked Javaune Adams-Gaston, vice president for Student Life, and Jay Kasey, senior vice president for Administration and Planning, to lead this group,” Gee said in the statement. “They plan to provide an initial assessment within three weeks.”

The most recent accident occurred Thursday night when a bicyclist struck a pedestrian near the corner of N. High Street and 17th Avenue.

The woman who was struck was carried away on a stretcher and the man who hit her remained on the scene after she was taken away.

Joseph Lee, a security guard at nearby Chumley’s, said he saw a woman jaywalk and get hit by a man on a bicycle.

“Basically, she wasn’t looking, she just took a step forward and they hit head-to-head and she flipped over and then was unconscious for 45 seconds,” Lee said. “Then she woke up, screamed in pain, a crowd formed around her. I advised people not to move her until the paramedics came.”

On Wednesday, 18-year-old James Hughes, a first-year in chemical engineering, was struck by a dump truck while riding his bike on Woodruff Avenue near a construction site. His father, David Hughes, said he is in critical condition Thursday afternoon.

“At that time we just knew he’d been hit, we didn’t have a lot of information,” he said. “At this time, to our understanding he left his dorm and was headed to class on his bike, and got hit by a dump truck. He got ran over by the front wheel of the dump truck.”

The first accident occurred on Aug. 19, when first-year OSU student Rachel Stump was struck by a car near campus. Stump, a Troy, Ohio, native, was in a coma and critical condition days after accident.

According to a Columbus Division of Police report, Stump crossed the street without using the crosswalk.

Her father, Matt Stump, told The Lantern that Rachel Stump did not remember what happened to her or the events that led to the accident.

“She can kind of squeak out, ‘Rachel,'” Matt Stump said. “It’ll be a long time before she has a conversation, she was able to say her name was Rachel. She doesn’t know where she’s at or what happened.”

In his statement, Gee also said that the university is working on an awareness campaigns which will be revealed to students in “the coming days.”

“We are all part of a complex, vibrant campus community,” he said. “Whether we are walking, biking, or driving, all of us share the responsibility to ensure that it is done safely.”

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