Marion to launch bike, pedestrian safety effort

Marion has been selected to participate in a new statewide campaign to promote pedestrian and bicycle safety.

The N.C. Department of Transportation will partner with various communities from the mountains to the coast in 2015 as part of Watch for ME NC, the statewide pedestrian and bicycle safety campaign. The Watch for Me NC campaign is a comprehensive approach to reducing bicycle and pedestrian crashes and fatalities in North Carolina, according to a news release.

The N.C. DOT received applications earlier this year from areas interested in implementing Watch for Me NC programs in their own communities. The DOT has selected Marion to be one of the partners in this effort. The announcement was made at Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Marion City Council.

Watch for ME NC will be a public awareness campaign to highlight the need for pedestrian and bicycle safety.

“It is an awareness campaign but something we need in Marion,” said Police Chief Allen Lawrence. “Over the years, pedestrian and bicycle traffic have greatly increased. Around the state pedestrian and bicycle crashes have also increased. Watch for me NC is a great way for Marion to be proactive in helping reduce those crashes and keep our citizens safe.”

Some of the other new partners in this effort are Asheville, Charlotte, Corolla, Davidson, Granville County (including the cities of Butner, Creedmore and Oxford), Jacksonville, Murphy and Surf City.

“As campaign partners, these communities will receive printed materials and media advertisements to help improve public awareness,” reads a news release. “Partner communities will also participate in specialized police officer enforcement training. The UNC Highway Safety Research Center will continue to provide technical support with campaign implementation.”

Several existing partners from previous years will continue to work with Watch for Me NC. They include Boone, Appalachian State University, Carrboro, Cary, Chapel Hill and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Dare County and the Outer Banks communities, Durham, Duke University, N.C. Central University, Greensboro, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, N.C. Agricultural and Technical University, Greenville and Pitt County, Raleigh and N.C. State University.

Folding Bike Zone offers safety tips here.