Help keep your neighborhood safe for our kids on the streets and school buses along with pets and pedestrians. Here are a few safety reminders:
Stopping for School Buses:
To avoid a stiff fine, points on your driver’s license and an increase in your automobile insurance, remember to obey North Carolina’s law on stopping for a school bus.
Safety is a shared responsibility for all road users, including drivers and pedestrians. The following are some tips to improve road safety for everyone.
- Obey all traffic regulations when running near traffic.
- Run against traffic. You’ll be more likely to see potential problems and avoid an accident if you’re facing approaching cars.
- Run during daylight hours if possible. If you’re running at night, wear reflective clothing and pay extra attention to your surroundings.
- Limit your distractions. You really shouldn’t use your iPod or MP3 player for outdoor runs. Cutting off your sense of hearing means you can’t hear oncoming cars, cyclists yelling to move, unleashed dogs, or any other potential threat.
- Don’t make assumptions about drivers. Remember that many drivers aren’t paying attention because they’re listening to the radio or talking on their cell phone. Don’t assume that drivers can see you or that they’ll let you go because you have the right of way. Be sure you make eye contact with drivers at street crossings before you cross.
- Be safe and be seen: make yourself visible to drivers
- Walk Single File – Unless you are on a sidewalk separated from the road or a wide bike lane, you should walk in single file. This is especially important on a road with lots curves, where traffic has only a split second chance of seeing you before hitting you. While it can be enjoyable to walk down the road two to three abreast chatting merrily, drivers don’t expect it and you may lose your best walking buddies.
- Wear bright/light colored clothing and reflective materials.
- Carry a flashlight when walking at night.
- Cross in a well-lit area at night.
- Stand clear of buses, hedges, parked cars or other obstacles before crossing so drivers can see you.
Be smart and alert: avoid dangerous behaviors
- Stay Aware of Bikes and Runners: Share the road and path with bikes and runners. Bike riders should alert you when approaching from behind with a bike bell or a “passing on the left/right.” Listen for them, and move to walk single file, allowing them to pass safely. Runners should also call out for passing
- Always walk on the sidewalk; if there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic.
- Don’t assume vehicles will stop; make eye contact with drivers, don’t just look at the vehicle. If a driver is on a cell phone, they may not be paying enough attention to drive safely.
- Don’t rely solely on pedestrian signals; look before you cross the road.
- Keep the Volume Down: Don’t drown out your environment with your iPod. Keep the volume at a level where you can still hear bike bells and warnings from other walkers and runners. Your audiologist will also thank you.
- Chatting on a cell phone while you walk is as dangerous as chatting while driving. You are distracted and not as aware of your environment. You are less likely to recognize traffic danger, passing joggers and bikers or tripping hazards.
- Walk Dogs on Short Leashes. Don’t trip up other walkers or bikers with poor control of your pet. Keep your pet and yourself safe by learning proper leash walking.
Be careful at crossings: look before you step
- Cross streets at marked crosswalks or intersections, if possible.
- Obey traffic signals.
- Look left, right, and left again before crossing a street.
- Watch for turning vehicles; make sure the driver sees you and will stop for you.
- Look across ALL lanes you must cross and visually clear each lane before proceeding. Just because one motorist stops, do not presume drivers in other lanes can see you and will stop for you.
- Don’t wear headphones or talk on a cell phone while crossing.
Safety tips for drivers
- Be alert: watch for pedestrians at all times
- Scan the road and the sides of the road ahead for potential pedestrians.
- Before making a turn, look in all directions for pedestrians crossing.
- Don’t drive distracted or after consuming alcohol or other drugs.
- Do not use your cell phone while driving.
- Look carefully behind your vehicle for approaching pedestrians before backing-up, especially small children.
- For maximum visibility, keep your windshield clean and headlights on.
Be responsible: yield to pedestrians at crossings
- Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, whether marked or unmarked.
- Yield to pedestrians when making right or left turns at intersections.
- Do not block or park in crosswalks.
Be patient: drive the speed limit and avoid aggressive maneuvers
- Never pass/overtake a vehicle that is stopped for pedestrians.
- Obey speed limits and come to a complete stop at STOP signs.
- Use extra caution when driving near children playing along the street or older pedestrians who may not see or hear you.
- Always be prepared to stop for pedestrians.
Here is a message I received from a police officer who patrols our neighborhood:
As you are well aware, certain sections of the neighborhood are extremely dark in the early morning hours when school buses are out and individuals are on their way to work. I have observed several people walking or jogging in the roadways in the early morning hours wearing dark clothing. I would strongly urge that the neighborhood membership be reminded of the city ordinance involving the use of reflective clothing (Sec 14-283) while on the streets. This is not about me writing tickets for such violations, but a genuine concern that one of these individuals will be struck by a car if they continue to dress inappropriately.
Sec. 14-283. Running or jogging on public streets, highways.
It shall be unlawful to run or jog in any public street or highway open to motor vehicle traffic other than in a safety zone, during the time from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise, or at any other time when there is not sufficient natural light to render discernible persons, vehicles and substantial objects on the street or highway at a distance of 500 feet ahead, unless such person is wearing reflective clothing or a reflective device. The reflective clothing or reflective devices hall be worn on the person and shall be of sufficient size and reflective capacity to be seen at a distance of not less than 500 feet to the person’s front and rear, when illuminated by two standard automobile headlights operating at the lawful lower beam setting. For the purposes of this section, the public street or highway shall not include the sidewalk or a crosswalk. (Code 1985, § 14-157)