The City of Asheville’s 2015 Watch for Me NC campaign, which ran from September to November, saw a citywide reduction of 27% in pedestrian- and bicycle-related crashes in comparison to the same time period average for 2010-2014.
This is the first year the City of Asheville has participated in the Watch for Me NC campaign. The statewide initiative, run through the NC Department of Transportation, aims to reduce pedestrian and bicycle injuries and deaths through a comprehensive and targeted approach of public education and police enforcement.
Asheville’s campaign, which kicked off Aug. 4, focused on educating motorists and pedestrians on laws through the month of August and began motorist-focused enforcement on Sept. 1.
Enforcement focused on heavily used pedestrian areas of Asheville such as downtown, Biltmore Village, Merrimon Avenue and West Asheville. Throughout the three-month period the Asheville Police Department’s Traffic Safety Unit conducted 10 operations focused on enforcing pedestrian related laws to motorists. These operations resulted in 49 charges. In addition, the Downtown Unit conducted multiple operations during this time frame focusing on major pedestrian intersections, such as those surrounding Pritchard Park.
“Our department’s primary focus is to ensure that all citizens and visitors to the City of Asheville are safe,” said Asheville Police Chief Tammy Hooper. “There are a number of areas throughout Asheville that experience very high pedestrian foot traffic. From 2010 to 2014 we had an average of 37 pedestrian-involved wrecks per year; in calendar year 2015 we experienced 27. Obviously, the goal is zero, but this is a substantial and very positive reduction. We hope to continue the downward trend through various efforts which include participating in campaigns such as Watch for Me.”
The City of Asheville would like to thank community partners who assisted in the program:
- UNC Asheville Police Department
- AB Tech Community College
- Asheville City Schools
- Active Routes to School
- Buncombe County District Attorney’s Office
- Mountain Area Health Education Center
- Blue Ridge Bicycle Club
- Asheville on Bikes
- WNC Bicycle Dealer’s Association
- Asheville Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force
- City of Asheville Multimodal Commission
- City of Asheville Neighborhood Advisory Committee
Related coverage: Watch for Me: Clearing up crosswalk confusion