City News

Transportation Department - August 14, 2019 

Winston-Salem's "Watch for Me" campaign to promote pedestrian and bicycle safety will officially begin Wednesday, Aug. 14, with a public-awareness campaign. Stepped-up enforcement will begin Aug. 26, to coincide with the first day of school.

Watch for Me NC is a state-funded program that aims to reduce crashes between pedestrians, bicyclists, and motor vehicles through greater awareness and enforcement of key safety laws. Participating communities receive technical assistance, materials and advertising assistance.

The campaign will start with social-media posts and announcements with safety messages and reminders for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists of their respective responsibilities under state law, said Matthew Burczyk, the city’s bicycle and pedestrian coordinator.

"We've also set up a special web address, CityofWS.org/WatchforMe, as a one-stop shop where drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians can get safety information and learn about their rights and responsibilities," Burczyk said.

The second phase campaign will bring strategic enforcement of laws, such as those requiring that drivers yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and that pedestrians and bicyclists obey all traffic signs and signals. A list of applicable laws is appended below.

In 2018, preliminary crash report data compiled by the UNC Highway Safety Research Center suggests that at least 235 pedestrians in North Carolina were killed in motor-vehicle crashes. Another 2,807 pedestrians were reported injured. In Forsyth County during 2018 there were at least 13 pedestrian fatalities and 173 pedestrian injuries. 

Watch for Me NC began in 2012 with a pilot program involving four communities. Since then, more than 50 communities have participated. Up to 10 communities are selected to participate each year.

More information about the program is available at WatchForMeNC.org.

Watch For Me NC Applicable Laws

Driver Laws

  1. Drivers are required to yield to pedestrians at marked crossings and unmarked crosswalks at intersections except where there is a traffic or pedestrian signal. (N.C. General Statute 20-155)
  2. Drivers must stop for pedestrians and bicyclists at stop signs and flashing red lights and must yield for pedestrians at flashing yellow lights. (N.C. General Statute 20-158)
  3. Drivers making right or left turns must allow pedestrians and bicyclists to cross first, unless pedestrians are prohibited from crossing. (N.C. General Statute 20-173) Pedestrians or bicyclists on sidewalks have the right of way, so drivers must let them pass before turning into or out of driveways and parking lots. (N.C. General Statute 20-173)
  4. State law prohibits drivers from passing vehicles stopped for pedestrians in crosswalks. (N.C. General Statute 20-173(b)
  5. It is incumbent upon drivers to make sure the road is clear of pedestrians before pulling forward or backing up. (N.C. General Statute 20-154)

Pedestrian Laws

  1. Pedestrians have the right of way at marked crossings, meaning cars must yield to pedestrians. (N.C. General Statutes 20-155 and 20-173)
  2. State law requires pedestrians to use marked crosswalks when they are provided, and it is unlawful to cross a street outside a marked crosswalk if the pedestrian is between two signalized intersections. (N.C. General Statute 20-172)
  3. When NOT at an intersection or marked crosswalk, pedestrians must yield the right of way to all vehicles. (N.C. General Statute 20-174)
  4. At crosswalks with pedestrian signals, state law requires that pedestrians obey the "Walk" and "Don't Walk" signs in the same way a driver must obey red or green lights. (N.C. General Statute 20-172)
  5. State law requires pedestrians walking along the road to use sidewalks when available. (N.C. General Statute 20-174)
  6. When sidewalks are not available, pedestrians are to walk to the far left edge of the road facing traffic. Walking in this direction gives pedestrians the best view of traffic. (N.C. General Statute 20-174)

Bicyclist Laws

  1. Bicyclists must ride on the right in the same direction of traffic and as far to the right as is safe and practicable. (N.C. General Statute 20-146)
  2. Bicyclists must obey all traffic signs and signals. (N.C. General Statute 20-158)
  3. Bicyclist must use hand signals to communicate intended movements, such as turns or stops. (N.C. General Statute 20-154)
  4. At night, bicyclists are required to use a front lamp visible from 300 feet and a rear reflector that is visible from a distance of 200 feet. (N.C. General Statute 20-129)
  5. Bicyclists under 16 years of age must wear a bicycle helmet on public roads, public paths and public rights-of way. (N.C. General Statute 20-179)
  6. All child passengers under 40 pounds or 40 inches must be seated and secured in a child seat or bicycle trailer. (N.C. General Statute 20-179)
  7. Bicyclists being passed by a motor vehicle or another bicyclist should remain as far to the right as possible and not increase their speed while being overtaken. (N.C. General Statute 20-179)
  8. Bicyclists must yield the right-of-way before entering or crossing any main-traveled or through highway if the roadway they are on is posted with a "yield right-of-way" sign. (N.C. General Statute 20-158)
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