'Yield to Heels' day promotes pedestrian safety, attentiveness on UNC campus

CHAPEL HILL, NC (April 5, 2010) - Pedestrian safety awareness will be emphasized throughout the day on Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as volunteers for the Yield to Heels campaign educate campus users at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on safety while walking, bicycling or driving around campus. Coordinated by the UNC Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the UNC Highway Safety Research Center (HSRC), Yield to Heels encourages safe, attentive and courteous behavior by pedestrians, drivers and bicyclists on campus.

Yield to Heels volunteers along with DPS officers will distribute educational fliers, t-shirts and retro-reflective items to pedestrians at crosswalks across campus. Volunteers will be stationed between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the following crosswalks:

  • South Columbia Street by Fraternity Court;
  • South Road at both the Student Recreation Center and the Bell Tower; and
  • Manning Drive between the Dental School and Thurston Bowles Building.

UNC Hospitals Police will also be handing out fliers at crosswalks in front of the Memorial, Women's, and Children's Hospitals in an effort to spread the message of pedestrian awareness to another busy area on campus.

The Yield to Heels event will also focus on the importance of attentiveness by campus commuters.

"With the North Carolina General Assembly's ban on texting while driving in effect since December 1, 2009, there is increased recognition on the dangers of distracted drivers," said Chief Jeff McCracken, director of UNC Department of Public Safety. "It is important for drivers to refrain from texting while driving."

Pedestrians should also stay vigilant before stepping out into the crosswalk, by not wearing headphones or talking or texting on a cell phone while crossing the street. Bicyclists should also never wear headphones or use cell phones while riding.

"Texting ban legislation is just one step in the process of encouraging people to follow safe driving practices," said David Harkey, HSRC director. "Yield to Heels positively reinforces the message to the UNC community that pedestrians need to use caution at every street crossing and that motorists have the responsibility to follow traffic laws and stay attentive to crossing pedestrians."

The UNC Pedestrian Safety Committee, formed in 1999, meets monthly to discuss education, enforcement, and street design measures to address comprehensive pedestrian safety. The Community Response Unit (CRU), formerly the Traffic and Pedestrian Safety team, consists of two traffic officers and four bicycle officers. The CRU plays a critical role in pedestrian safety by enforcing traffic laws on campus, interacting with students and community members on the street, and offering pedestrian safety education programs throughout the year.

More information on pedestrian safety is available at www.hsrc.unc.edu or www.dps.unc.edu.


UNC Department of Public Safety contact: Randy Young, ( 919) 962-1502
UNC Highway Safety Research Center contact: Jeremy Pinkham, (919) 843-4859

Media Contacts

Caroline Dickson

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