MSU sidewalks should ensure pedestrian safety, not painful falls

There are many things high school failed to prepare me for, but one aspect of college in particular has stood out lately as a recent pain in my side: trudging through a monsoon to make it to class. These past few weeks brought pelts of rain and sluggish gray weather that made hopping out of bed in the mornings more difficult than normal.

In high school, alternating classes was a predominately indoor activity where you were safely covered from the harsh outdoor elements. In college, however, you have to power-walk through seemingly impossible routes from one end of campus to the complete opposite side, just to make it to class in 10 minutes, and if the weather was anything like two weeks ago, then you were practically swimming. 

A noticeable feature about Starkville showers is that if it is raining, it is likely extremely windy as well, undermining both the use of your umbrella and your dignity when the scourging wind flips your parasol inside out. One thing I noticed as I braced the wind, angling my umbrella just so the wind could not yank its shielding, was the excessive amounts of pooling water, puddled up from the uneven sidewalks and pavements.

For such constant renovations and updates to our beautiful campus, the sidewalks and pavements have shown an increasingly poor contrast, especially evident when it rains. Not only are concaving sidewalks a nuisance to all students who still have somehow managed to make it this far in the school year without owning rubber rain boots, but they also may lead to potential safety hazards. 

Uneven sidewalks could make something as simple as a stumble turn into a fractured ankle or, in the worst scenarios, "broken bones, torn ligaments, traumatic brain injuries or herniated discs," according to Wieand Law Firm.

Especially when it rains as ferociously as it did a few weeks ago, the ground is even more slippery and the puddles obscure where exactly the sidewalk tiles fracture, leaving students in a game of Russian roulette when it comes to hobbling across these miniature pools of rainwater. 

All Law states injury from uneven sidewalks may be deemed a "negligence claim," and if the university wants to avoid these types of situations, the cracked pavements should be renovated. 

Although this is a college campus, Mississippi State University is teeming with events which attract various guests ranging from returning MSU alumni for sporting events, featured speakers from out-of-state and even singers or actors for artistic performances.

I do not think guests visiting MSU should have a poor impression of the campus based on one horribly embarrassing (or painful) incident of tripping and potentially injuring themselves on uneven sidewalks. 

Jim Dodson of Jim Dodson Law says thousands of injuries are inflicted from poor sidewalks every year. A person’s attention is often not directed toward where their feet are stepping, but rather to outside distractions, such as ringing cell phones, nerves for an upcoming test, commuter cars clearly going over the allotted 20 miles-per-hour speed limit or even simply the stress of making it to class on time. It is natural for humans to look and think beyond their footing, making it all too easy for a trip-and-fall to ensue. 

It is the university’s responsibility to maintain the care of its students and guests alike. Sidewalks are intended to create a paved pathway for pedestrians to safely travel by foot, but if these pathways are so damaged and ruinous they become a safety hazard on their own, then their purpose is lost.

The university would save more money and negative publicity by repairing its pavements rather than settle a lawsuit for a sidewalk injury. According to Wieand Law Firm, some falls are caused by carelessness, but often the serious injuries are from "hazardous condition of property," and those are the accidents resulting in lawsuits.

Therefore, to evade such mishaps, MSU needs to start taking the cracked sidewalks mapping out the extent of the campus under consideration for serious renovation.

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