Ohio State wants walkers only on Oval

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Responding to a series of accidents on or near campus last fall, Ohio State University officials said they only want walkers on its iconic Oval and will tell bicyclists and skateboarders to stay clear.

The university is starting an information campaign on April 17 to make sure students understand traffic-safety rules and keep the Oval's sidewalks pedestrian friendly. Starting in the fall, police will write tickets to violators, an OSU spokeswoman said.

Signs posted around the Oval's perimeter will declare it a "walk zone."

"This is about starting a culture change on campus," Ohio State spokeswoman Lindsay Komlanc told The Columbus Dispatch (http://bit.ly/11OJtSS ) for a story Thursday.

The walk zone was among recommendations by a university task force created after a series of pedestrian, bicycle and motor-vehicle crashes during the fall semester last year.

The task force also raised concerns about bicyclists who do not know the rules of the road, and jaywalking and distracted pedestrians who might not be aware of the traffic around them. The university held an event recently focused on jaywalking and teaching students and faculty and staff members about the law.

Some students see the new policy as drastic.

Allison Chapman, 20, said she thinks fining people would be "a little excessive."

"Bicyclists sometimes get in the way," she said. "It's part of the process of getting to class. This is a main passageway."

Emily Lebsock, 19, also questioned the policy.

"I don't think it's fair," she said. "It's how people get to class. I've never been run over by a bike or skateboard of anything."

Campus accidents in the fall left three students seriously injured. An 18-year-old student was hit by a car while walking, another 18-year-old student riding a bicycle was hit by a dump truck, and a 21-year-old woman was hit when she stepped in front of a bicyclist.

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