Road safety campaign aims to help decrease pedestrian-involved accidents

The growing population and amount of drivers in Wilmington can make riding a bicycle and walking along roads dangerous activities.
Published: May. 4, 2023 at 8:35 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - With more development and many people moving to North Carolina, it’s important to remember that there are more people sharing the road than ever.

The growing population and amount of drivers in Wilmington can make riding a bicycle and walking along roads dangerous activities.

“Be a Looker” is an educational road safety campaign that launches every other year with the goal to improve the rules of the road, particularly for bicyclists and pedestrians.

The campaign states North Carolina Department of Transportation findings that each year in Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender counties, there are an average of 90 vehicle-pedestrian crashes and 59 vehicle-bicycle incidents.

“The Wilmington area is consistently ranked as one of the most dangerous to bike and walk in. So, we hope that an educational campaign for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians will help everyone stay safer,” said Carolyn Caggia, associate transportation planner for Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.

The “Be a Looker” campaign ramps up during the summer months when tourists are in town who might not be familiar with our roads. It aims to teach drivers to be alert for people along the road, while reminding bicyclists and pedestrians that they have a responsibility as well.

Safety tips for drivers include being on the lookout for people on bikes and those walking along the road. For bicyclists and pedestrians, tips include staying visible and predictable while out on the road. Bicyclists and pedestrians should use hand signals and eye contact with drivers to increase visibility and predictability.

The campaign hopes that accident numbers will decline and stresses the responsibility of everyone to keep each other safe on the roadway.

An additional tip for bicyclists is to ensure that you are travelling in the same direction as the rest of traffic.

“We encourage bicyclists to ride on the right side of the road for two reasons. One of them is that it’s safer to ride with traffic because it gives vehicles more time to think about how they’re going to pass you and give you a safe passing distance. Also, according to North Carolina state law, bikes are counted as vehicles and that means you have to follow the rules of the road,” said Caggia.

Four feet is the minimum amount of space that should be given to bicyclists and pedestrians while driving past them.

Put simply, whether you’re biking, walking or driving, being a looker can help reduce crashes. You can read more about the campaign here.