RALEIGH - Bicyclists and pedestrians in communities across North Carolina are now safer thanks to a record number of participants in the 2016 Watch for Me program.
The 2016 Watch for Me annual report highlights the work of 25 community partners made up of 120 law enforcement officers from 35 agencies. These communities held more than 115 special events to engage and educate thousands of drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians on the importance of pedestrian and bicycle safety.
As a direct result of the training and resources provided, community partners reported:
Significant changes in the attitudes of participating agencies toward bicyclist and pedestrian safety
Partnerships were instrumental in implementing the program locally
Watch for Me concepts are being incorporated into plans, programs, and enforcement
Future partners should form coalitions with agencies with overlapping goals and formalize Watch for Me activities through set policies
"It's great to see that so many community partners have embraced the lifesaving messages of bicycle and pedestrian safety," said Ed Johnson, interim director of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Division and Safe Routes to Schools coordinator. "Citizens in these areas are safer now thanks to law enforcement agencies understanding the importance of education and enforcement."
The Watch for Me NC program, which began in 2012, directs safety and educational messages toward drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists, along with enforcement efforts by area police to crack down on some of the violations of traffic safety laws. As part of the effort, communities who apply and are invited to become partners receive additional support and training from the N.C. Department of Transportation. The UNC Highway Safety Research Center provides technical support with implementation and evaluation.