Does the name Shingo Matsumoto mean anything to you? Shingo, a 21-year-old Bowdoin senior, was struck and killed by a truck while he was crossing Maine Street in front of Helmreich House in December 1995. That tragic day is still remembered by many in the Bowdoin community.
Hundreds of times a day members of the Bowdoin community complacently step into the path of thousands of motor vehicles. Those vehicles are driven by anonymous drivers, some good and some bad, some with licenses and some suspended, some sober and some drunk. The simple act of crossing the street is one of the most perilous things you will do each day.
Bowdoin students, faculty, staff and visitors use nearly 30 crosswalks surrounding our campus. Although pedestrians in crosswalks have the right-of-way legally, it is important to remember that drivers cannot yield unless they see you. The law states, "A pedestrian may not suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close that it is impossible for the operator to yield."
In Maine, people from age 15-24 account for nearly a quarter of all pedestrian crash victims. Friday is the most dangerous day of the week for pedestrians. Most crashes involving pedestrians occur between 4 and 6 p.m. Drivers usually claim that they did not see the pedestrians in time to avoid striking them. Never assume that drivers can or will stop. A driver could be intoxicated, distracted or plain careless.
Drivers, it is your responsibility to be cautious, alert, and prepared to react instantly. Pedestrians need to be visible, make eye contact with drivers, and wait for vehicles to stop before crossing.
Several crosswalks surrounding campus are equipped with pedestrian-activated flashing lights embedded in the pavement or flashing crosswalk traffic warning signs. Activating these lights is proven to make you more visible to approaching traffic. Please use these safety devices whenever they are available.
To help promote pedestrian safety, the Office of Safety and Security has a supply of popular Bowdoin reflective snap bands. Snap bands are available at the Office of Safety and Security, Rhodes Hall.