How to navigate campus safely as school year draws in thousands

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East Lansing, Mich. (WLNS)– More than 50,000 students are back on the campus of MSU for the start of the 2019 school year.

“Traffic is going to pick up,” MSU Police Captain Doug Monette said.

Whether you’re walking, driving, or riding a bike or moped, when it comes to navigating campus, Capt. Monette said awareness is key… even as a pedestrian.

“Phones can be a distraction. It’s just like anything. There’s a time and place for that,” Monette said.

He also said having a strategy of where you’re going and how you’re going to get there helps.

“For some people this campus is new. “People are trying to find their way, so people need to drive cautiously,” Capt. Monette said.

One of those newbies is MSU Freshman Eric Dutkiewicz. He bikes around campus.

“I always try and like make sure that like I’m looking like where my next move is like especially if I’m with like pedestrians. You don’t wanna hit someone,” Dutkiewicz said.

According to the university, 90 percent of bicycle crashes on campus actually happen on sidewalks, so as part of a new pilot program they recently added a new two-way protected bike path to put more separation between cars and bicyclists.

“It is a little bit nerve-wracking being with people who are a lot bigger than you in their cars,” Dutkiewicz said.

He also worries about theft, so when he’s not riding, his bike stays locked up.

“I’ve heard a lot about people getting their bikes stolen and stuff and I just don’t want that to happen,” Dutkiewicz said.

For the students who get around on mopeds, Capt. Monette said they need to remember that they are also considered motor vehicles and should follow the same laws.

“Mopeds cannot drive on sidewalks,” Capt. Monette said.

Mopeds are also required to park in designated spots on campus, but in order to do so, they need to be registered with the Secretary of State. They also need to have an MSU moped permit. If mopeds are found parked anywhere else, they can be ticketed.

Capt. Monette also encourages people to lock up their mopeds due to recent theft.

And no matter how you’re getting around, it’s important to stay in your lane.

“Pedestrians use the sidewalk, bicyclists use the bike lanes, and motor vehicles which includes mopeds, use the roadway,” Capt. Monette said, adding, “A lot of these things are common sense but sometimes people get in a hurry.”

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