'Yield to Heels' day fosters pedestrian safety and encourages attentiveness at UNC

CHAPEL HILL, NC (April 13, 2011) - During the day, volunteers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will promote awareness for pedestrian safety, educating pedestrians, drivers and bicyclists on UNC's campus. Coordinated by the UNC Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the UNC Highway Safety Research Center (HSRC), Yield to Heels day serves to foster safety for pedestrians and bicyclists while traveling throughout campus and to uncover myths regarding pedestrian safety.

Yield to Heels volunteers along with DPS officers will distribute educational fliers, t-shirts and retro-reflective safety 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 near Fraternity Court;
  • South Road at both the Student Recreation Center and the Bell Tower; and
  • Manning Drive between the Dental School and the Thurston Bowles Building.

UNC Hospitals Police will also participate in the event and distribute fliers at crosswalks in front of the Memorial, Women's, and Children's Hospitals to extend the message of pedestrian awareness to another busy area on campus.

"One of biggest challenges at the Department of Public Safety is to help ensure accessibility to a campus environment that is continually changing and growing," said Chief Jeff McCracken, director of the department. "A clearer understanding by both pedestrians and motorists of regulations benefits all who travel to, from, and around the university campus."

Following the 1999 death of Dr. Fusayoshi Matsukawa, a UNC postdoctoral dentistry fellow who was struck by a car while crossing Manning Drive at a marked crosswalk, a 14-member pedestrian safety committee was formed to report recommendations for campus pedestrian safety improvements to the university's chancellor. Since the inception of Yield to Heels, UNC has made strides in improving campus safety and is committed to working toward pedestrian/bicycle-motor vehicle crash-free environment through a combination of education and enforcement.

"The Yield to Heels event helps raise awareness about pedestrian safety across UNC's campus. At the same time, it serves to remind pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists of the need to be cautious at all street crossings, on or off campus." said David Harkey, director of the UNC Highway Safety Research Center.

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: Davien Anderson, (919) 843-4859

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Caroline Dickson

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