Each year, more than 3,000 pedestrians and 850 bicyclists are hit by vehicles in North Carolina, making it one of the least safe states for walking and cycling.
On average, about 160 pedestrians and 20 bicyclists are killed each year in the state, representing about 15 percent of all traffic fatalities on North Carolina roads. In collisions with vehicles traveling at 40 mph, pedestrians have an 85 percent chance of dying.
These statistics are from DOT’s “Watch For Me NC” program aimed at preventing crashes involving cyclists and pedestrians. The state started the campaign in 2012 to provide educational messages for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists to stay safe on roadways.
The message is especially important in Henderson, Transylvania and Polk counties, which draw thousands of cyclists. Henderson County alone has 184 miles of designated bicycle routes showcasing its rolling countryside and mountain vistas.
DOT is distributing safety tips for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists as part of the program. In addition to “Obey all traffic laws,” there’s another one common to all three modes of transportation: “Avoid distractions.”
For drivers, that means paying attention to the road and not to food, passengers or mobile devices. Talking and texting while driving is both dangerous and illegal in many places.
The same holds true for pedestrians and bicyclists. Texting or talking on cellphones when crossing streets diminishes two key senses — hearing and seeing — that walkers need to detect and avoid cars. Cyclists also should avoid distractions such as listening to headphones or answering phones while riding.
Additional safety tips for motorists include:
• Be prepared to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
• Give a bicyclist at least four feet of space when passing, or you may completely enter the left lane if conditions are safe to do so.
• Never pass a vehicle that is stopped for pedestrians.
• Before making a turn, be sure the path is clear of any pedestrians or bicyclists.
• Slow down in areas where you are likely to find pedestrians, such as near bus stops, schools and playgrounds.
Safety tips for pedestrians include
• Look for cars in all directions — including those turning left or right — before crossing the street; never assume a driver will stop.
• Be careful crossing multiple lanes of traffic. Make sure each lane is clear before you cross.
• Enhance your visibility at night. Walk in well-lit areas, carry a flashlight, or wear something reflective such as stickers or armbands, in order to be more visible.
• Be predictable to drivers and follow the rules of the road; obey signs and signals.
Bicyclist safety tips include:
• Wear a helmet. It could save your life.
• Use a light and reflex mirrors or reflective clothing when bicycling at night, and be as visible as possible.
• Ride in the direction of traffic.
• Obey all signs and signals, including stopping at stop signs and red lights.
• Use all of your senses — watch and listen for cars, particularly at intersections and driveways.
For more information, visit www.watchformenc.org.
Source: Google News Share the road, save a life