On their way to school, students may worry about the history test they have first period or the presentation they have in literature. Some, unfortunately, worry about getting injured and not making it to school at all. During drop off and pick up times, the streets around Lynbrook become congested, making it harder for students who walk or bike to navigate the roads safely. Crowded streets have been a constant problem over the years, and multiple Lynbrook students have either witnessed or personally experienced dangerously close encounters with drivers due to the congestion.
The actions of students as well as parents both contribute to dangerous conditions. Parents often make illegal maneuvers to save time, while students do not always ride with the flow of traffic, making it harder for drivers to identify where student bikers will be in order to avoid them.
“I see many students riding their bikes with their helmets dangling on their handlebars,” said Assistant Principal Eric Wong. “While drivers should watch out for students, bikers should also be following standard procedures in order to stay safe.”
Additionally, bike lanes are often occupied by cars attempting to make turns, resulting in bikers having to maneuver around motorists. Some drivers also speed or make illegal U-turns.
“I think, honestly, it comes down to time and time management. If you are in a hurry and you know that you are late, and you do not want to be marked tardy, you are going to cut corners. Everybody does this: it’s human nature,” said literature teacher Jessica Dunlap.
Lynbrook parent Madhan Rangaswamy has personally experienced the dangers of campus traffic. In early September, his daughter was biking to school when she was knocked off her bike, resulting in a concussion.
“This is your school and your neighborhood. Students should be finding ways to bring attention to traffic safety issues since it directly affects them,” Rangaswamy said. “If students are vocal about it, it’s more likely that parents will listen.”
Students, too, have witnessed such accidents. Sophomore Shasta Narayanan has biked to school since sixth grade. As he was biking to school at the beginning of October, a student riding in front of him attempted to cross the street. At the same time, a car made a right turn and hit the student, knocking him off his bike.
“I was extremely shocked,” Narayanan said. “My first instinct was to get off my bike and make sure the kid was fine, and I was also scared because it was equally likely that it could have been me, or my friends.”
The driver immediately got out of his car to help the student. However, Narayanan noticed that the student did not take down any information about the driver.
“The student didn’t know what to do,” Narayanan said. “Usually, you should ask the driver for their license, registration and insurance.”
Similarly, junior Rin Ha has also experienced the unsafe traffic conditions surrounding Lynbrook. From her years of biking in the vicinity of crowded streets, she has learned to avoid biking right when the school day at Miller Middle School ends, as that is when the road congestion is at its worst.
“If you go near Di Napoli Drive and Countess Drive when Miller students gets out, it’s really scary because there’s no one controlling the traffic at that intersection,” Ha said. “It’s really crammed with cars, so it’s hard to get around safely.”
There are currently many safety measures already in place: crossing guards at the main intersection of Johnson Avenue and Rainbow Drive help students cross safely, staff members stationed inside the Lynbrook parking lot watch over students and guide cars and school administration has sent emails to Lynbrook students and parents about the traffic rules and ways to stay safe.
These traffic incidents impact all members of the Lynbrook community, from student bikers to parent drivers. Although it may never be entirely solved, traffic safety is an ongoing problem on campus that the community can continue working to solve.