Our view: Stay smart, stay safe

And as the weather gets nicer and the temperatures get warmer, it’s a great time to get out and enjoy yourself before the semester wraps up. After all, we only have two weeks left.

So go for a run around Front Campus. Walk downtown and get lunch at Franklin Square Deli. Catch a show at the Kent Stage. Or go unwind a little bit at the Zephyr.

But – trivial as it sounds – don’t forget to be careful while you’re out and about.

We’re college students in a college town, but the little myth that pedestrian laws don’t apply to us isn’t true. That said, while traveling the streets of Kent remember that it is a college town and to keep your eyes open and your speed down.

And remember despite what Jack Daniel might tell you, walking home alone at 3 a.m. isn’t the best of ideas.

If it seems like what we’re telling you is common sense, well, it is. Or at least it should be. But we’ve been seeing lots of people putting themselves in bad situations. We aren’t trying to be your mother and we don’t think you’re stupid. But please, be careful.

Stop and look both ways before darting across state Route 59. Taking that couple of extra seconds could be worth an awful lot. And be especially careful at night. If you’re out for a late-night or early-morning run, wear bright colors and something reflective. Just because you can see the car doesn’t mean the driver can see you.

Of course, the responsibility isn’t just on pedestrians. If you have a driveway that crosses the sidewalk, keep it clear. Not only are you forcing people to walk around – often into the street – but you can also get ticketed for it. There are probably better things you could do with that money.

Be careful behind the wheel, too. Just because you think it looks cool to drive around after dark with only your parking lights on, it isn’t a very good idea. You don’t look cool and you can’t see anything. And remember that when making right-hand turns, there might be someone crossing the crosswalk, so take it easy. You aren’t in a drifting competition.

And on those nights you’ve been across campus to a party or downtown at the bars, be smart about how you’re getting home. Find someone to be your designated driver. Finals are coming up. Surely one of your friends is diligently studying and could use a break. But if no one will take pity on you and give you a ride, at the least make sure you’ve got a group to walk with. If you are on campus, give the campus escort service something to do. Earlier this year, campus security manager Brian Hellwig said they’re only called three to four times a night. After all, Kent State offers the service to help students. They’re available seven days a week from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. by calling 672-7004.

Kent is a safe place, but even at that, in their 2007 annual report, the Kent Police Department reported it had received 42 calls for sex offenses and had seven rapes.

We know you’re all adults who can take care of yourselves. And we know no one likes to be lectured on safety for a night out at the bars. But please, be careful. There are just two weeks left. We’d hate for you to not be able to enjoy it.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.