Campus speeding serious issue

Oct 17, 2002, vol. 25, no. 4
By Marianne Meadahl

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The fall rush on campus is prompting a call to slow down.

With the semester well under way and construction begun on the new mountaintop community, SFU's campus security office is working to drive that message home for speeding motorists.

Campus personal security coordinator Laura MacDonald says it's critical that drivers learn to use greater caution. “Speed is a serious issue on campus,” says MacDonald, noting that recent statistics gathered through the campus's speed watch program show an average of 63 per cent of vehicles on campus travel in excess of the speed limit.

Over the last four years, 22 serious accidents have occurred on campus. Last year 78 accidents in total were reported.

MacDonald says the campus's first annual safety fair, held recently in convocation mall, helped to illustrate the effects of problems such as speed and alcohol impairment. Participants were invited to shoot basketballs or steer through a wheelchair maze while wearing vision impaired glasses.

A display of the tangled remains of a Chevy Blazer, which crashed in a 1999 accident in Surrey, was a stark reminder of what speed can do. “We will continue to create an awareness of the dangers as long as the problem exists,” says MacDonald.

In addition to the speed watch awareness campaign, which posts passing vehicle speeds to show drivers how fast they are travelling, MacDonald says that campus security is also sending followup notices to motorists found driving at excessive speeds.

Thefts from autos also continue to be a problem. So far this year, 21 cases have been reported to security.

“We'll continue to conduct foot, bike and mobile patrols of all parking lots, but mainly this is a crime of opportunity,” says MacDonald, adding that security staff will continue to emphasize the importance of not leaving valuable personal belongings in view.

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