It was a fresh spring afternoon in Auburn. Birds were singing, flowers were budding and students were eager to soak up the sunshine after a cold winter of being cooped up indoors. Auburn senior, Lizzy Dumas, was no different. As she sat in class, her gazed was fixed out the window resenting other students who were enjoying the beautiful day.
Dumas was feeling overwhelmed and beaten down from a long week of studying and responsibilities. As class was dismissed, she collected her belongings and hurried home. She knew that the faster she left the classroom, the faster she could lace up her shoes, hit the pavement and leave her worries behind. Running was her release.
With nothing but her thoughts to keep her company, Dumas used running as an outlet, and she would run until her head was clear. She loved the alone time and she craved the exertion.
On this particular day, Dumas had mapped out a quick three-mile, and by mile two, her run had been no different than any other afternoon. She turned right at the crosswalk on College St. to continue her journey. She stepped off the curb, her breathing was deep, and her heart rate was steady. Cars whizzed by, and she had almost reached the other side of the road when she heard the sound of breaks screeching toward her. She looked over her shoulder, her eyes grew large, her breathing grew shallow, her heart rate quickened, and in an instant Lizzy Dumas was struck by a car.
Moments later, Dumas awoke to the sight of people standing over her. She knew where she was, she knew what had happened, and all she wanted to do was continue her run and go about her day, but the action of standing up seemed impossible.
After an ambulance ride and a hospital stay, Dumas made it out of the traumatic experience with deep cuts and bruises that would take months to heal and internal damage to her right leg that would require cosmetic surgery. Fortunately for Dumas, her injuries were not more detrimental, but the physical and psychological aftermath of being hit by a car on foot is not something one easily overcomes.
“It was an intense experience,” Dumas said. “I am so lucky that the car was not going any faster than it was or I might not be walking right now. I know I used a crosswalk, but I still should have been more careful.”
We learn at a young age the importance of traffic and pedestrian safety, but as we grow older and become more aware of our surroundings, we grow weary in following these safety instructions. At Auburn University, pedestrian safety has become a serious problem.
During this academic year alone, Dumas is one of more than seven pedestrians who have been struck by automobiles on Auburn's campus. This number is unsettling and as a result, Auburn University and the city of Auburn are taking action by presenting the “Travel With Care” transportation safety campaign.
“Travel With Care” will take place on April 5-9 and will encourage motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, transit riders and individuals using other forms of transportation to practice safe transportation habits, obey the rules of the road and respect all modes of transportation.
The campaign's tagline states, "However you go, go safely," and it reminds everyone to consider alternative modes of transportation, but to do so in a safe manner. Join Auburn University’s President Jay Gogue, Mayor Bill Ham Jr. and the community for a campaign kick-off on Monday, April 5, at 11:15 a.m. at Toomer's Corner.
During the week of the campaign, members of the Auburn Police Division will increase enforcement of traffic and safety regulations including visibility, jaywalking and red light running.
Volunteers will be distributing educational materials and reflective giveaways throughout the week. Keep an ear out for public service announcements on local radio stations, and be sure to visit
www.travelwithcareauburn.com for transportation safety tips and rules of the road. Funding for “Travel With Care” is provided, in part, by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.