Watch For Me NC program aims to keep pedestrians safe

By Rebecca Harrelson, Staff Writer

Published in print Oct. 8, 2014

One may notice that UNCG and Greensboro police seem to be taking sections of campus by force lately.

There has been a rise in handing out tickets to jaywalkers, those who are riding their bicycles too fast down busy streets and giving tickets to those who are not stopping to let pedestrians pass.

N.C. A & T campus police alongside UNCG and the Greensboro Police Department are joining forces for the Watch for Me NC campaign.

Watch for Me NC is a “comprehensive program, run by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) in partnership with local communities, aimed at reducing the number of pedestrians and bicyclists hit and injured in crashes with vehicles,” according to the the Watch for Me NC Website.

Sergeant Graves of the UNCG Police Department emailed some facts and figures about the program; the facts come from Watch for Me NC and the University of North Carolina’s Highway Safety Research Center.

North Carolina routinely ranks as one of the most dangerous places for pedestrians and bicyclists. Each year, roughly 2,635 pedestrians and 970 bicyclists are hit by cars in NC, with about 168 pedestrian and 22 bicycle fatalities per year.

These figures represent only police-reported crashes that make it through the DMV system. Past studies have estimated that police-reported crashes represent only about 56 percent of pedestrian and bicyclist incidents that occur, according to Sergeant Graves).

This entire campaign is composed of two key variables: safety and education messages directed towards drivers, pedestrian and bicyclists and enforcement of state traffic laws. The campaign has set up in areas such as Wake, Durham and Orange counties since 2012.

The following statistics were compiled by the University of North Carolina’s Highway Safety Research Center, analyzing statewide pedestrian and bicycle crashes reported by police from 2008 to 2012: Male bicyclists account for about 85 percent of the crash-involved bicyclists in NC. Males also account for 60 percent of the pedestrian-vehicle crashes.

On average, drivers age 25 and younger accounted for more than 23 percent of all collisions with bicyclists and 24 percent of all collisions with pedestrians. More than 50 percent of all crashes involved bicyclists under the age of 30. Pedestrian crashes more typically involved the adult population, aged 18 to 60.

Pulled from the Watch for Me NC website, their statement gives an all inclusive look at their mission: “Safe places to walk and bike are important for supporting active, vibrant communities. The Watch for Me NC program aims to reduce pedestrian and bicycle injuries and death through comprehensive, targeted approach of public education and police enforcement.”

Showing that everyone, pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers on the road share equal responsibilities seems to also be at the core of this program.

“Originally it was supposed to be a four week campaign from Sept. 8 – Oct. 5. I’m going to continue doing the campaign for four more weeks until Oct. 27. Greensboro Police Department is assisting UNCG Police Department with this campaign and enforcement,” said Sergeant Graves.



Categories: News, Rebecca Harrelson

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