Accidents abound on first day back

During the morning hours of the first day of the fall semester, three separate accidents involving students left some injured on campus streets.

On Monday, three accidents were called in to University Police (UP) dispatch – “a function of having so many people in such a small geographic area,” said UP spokeswoman Sgt. Charlotte Domingo.

UP spokeswoman Lt. Meg Ross said the first accident occurred at 10:30 a.m., when a motorcycle was struck by a vehicle in parking lot 17B at the corner of Willow and Maple drives, but the motorcyclist was able to leave the scene. The second incident occurred when a bicyclist was struck by a vehicle and ejected from his bicycle in a crosswalk on Holly Drive at 11:38 a.m. He was then transported to University Community Hospital. The third occurred adjacent to campus, on the corner of Fowler Avenue and 50th Street, at 11:45 a.m. and involved a bicyclist and a vehicle.

No additional information on the condition of the students was available as all cases are open for 60 days, Ross said.

“We want students to be aware that pedestrians have the right of way,” she said. “They need to be aware (of traffic) and not take chances.”

According to enrollment figures from last year, 39,357 students attended classes
on the first day – an overall increase of 795 students on the Tampa campus from 2008.

This year, Provost Ralph Wilcox said he expected 42,000 students to attend classes on the first day.

Domingo said the influx of students means that everyone on campus needs to “take extra precautions” and “be on the lookout for each other.”

“There are a lot of people on campus, some of them for the first time,” Domingo said. “We need to be patient when we’re out there on the road.”

USF students are not the only ones heading back to class this week. Tuesday morning marks the first day of classes for all Hillsborough County schools, including the Patel Partnership Elementary School and the Anthony Pizzo Elementary School, both located on Bull Run Drive.

“Beginning on Tuesday, and carrying on throughout the week, the areas by Bull Run and the Sun Dome will be busiest from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and again from 1:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.,” Ross said.

She said Maple Drive, Leroy Collins Boulevard and the area near the Library will also have heavy vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

Ross said that in order to help manage the “flow of traffic,” UP will patrol and direct traffic in “heavily congested areas.”

“By Thursday, traffic should begin to filter down both on the University side and on the elementary side,” Ross said.