Pedestrian and Cyclist Safety


Watch for Me NC and the Distracted Driving Campaign

Watch for Me NC--Bikers and Pedestrians Chapel Hill values a pedestrian and cyclist friendly community. The Town’s active population and the high number of young drivers and new residents every year present challenges to road safety. We all share the responsibility to keep roads safe. Help Chapel Hill stay a safe place to walk, cycle and drive.

Make it safer
Safety Tips
Distracted Driving
The Numbers
Our Partners
Contact Us

What is Chapel Hill doing to make it safer? 

Watch for Me NC

The Town partners with Watch for Me NC, a comprehensive campaign aimed at reducing the number of pedestrians and bicyclists hit and injured in crashes with vehicles. The program is a collaborative effort with state and local transportation agencies with a focus on safety messages about road safety. 

Chapel Hill Police Department

The Chapel Hill Police Department partners with the UNC Department of Public Safety, the Chapel Hill Carrboro City Schools and the NC Department of Transportation to provide public safety education and outreach. Uniformed police officers regularly conduct outreach events to engage with pedestrians and cyclists, passing out brochures with safety tips as a reminder to obey traffic laws, share the road and keep safe. Want to find out more, or to schedule a presentation? Contact Police Sgt. Celisa Lehew at 919-968-2760 or

Traffic Engineering

Traffic Engineering focuses on infrastructure including signal lights, pedestrian countdown signals, stop signs, speed limit signs, pedestrian crosswalks, medians, and bike lanes. Traffic controls – including signs, signal lights, and pavement markings – regulate the speed, volume, and flow of pedestrian, bicycle, and motor vehicle traffic. The neighborhood traffic-calming program provides residents an opportunity to present a concern for traffic safety with respect to observed volume and speeds on neighborhood streets to study and evaluate measures to mitigate these concerns.  

Transportation Planning

The Planning Department’s long-range transportation effort works to integrate considerations of bicyclists’ and pedestrians’ needs into all facets of transportation planning and programming. The division also coordinates with state and regional agencies to prepare and implement local and regional transportation plans, manages the transportation demand management program, and administers the sidewalk construction plan. Work is underway to create a more connected, bikeable community through the Bike Plan.  

Communications and Public Affairs

Community engagement specialists assist with the public outreach efforts of all departments of the Town, as well as those of the NC Department of Transportation campaign "Watch for Me NC." Messages are dispersed throughout the year via the website, news releases, social media, occasional advertisements, and at festivals and special events. 

Go Chapel Hill!

Go Chapel Hill helps determine ways to leave our cars at home and lead a more active and healthy lifestyle. The program encourages basic strategies to reduce our carbon footprint, save money, reduce traffic congestion and begin days in a healthier way. Best practices and information include bicycling, walking, carpooling, telework, transit and many other approaches to encourage healthy lifestyle and community. 

Chapel Hill Transit

Chapel Hill Transit buses are equipped with sturdy exterior racks to the front. Each rack can hold two bicycles. Some safety tips include the following -- Always approach the bus from the curb. Never ride around to the front of a bus from the street side. Please don't wait in the street with your bike as the bus approaches. Before stepping in front of the bus to load your bike, make eye contact with the bus operator. Always load and unload your bicycle directly in front of the bus, or from the curb. After unloading your bike, never cross in front of the bus! Wait until it has left the stop. 

Safety Tips


  • Be Bright at night 
  • Walk Facing Traffic 
  • Pull the plug on electronics and pay attention 
  • Cross safely when exiting the bus 
  • Watch for turning cars 
  • Be careful in parking lots and intersections


  • Be Bright at Night and avoid night riding 
  • Go with the flow. Ride with traffic. 
  • Obey Traffic Signals & Signs 
  • Look Before Entering Traffic & Changing Lanes 
  • Use Hand Signals 
  • Wear a Helmet 
  • Learn the Rules of the Road. Obey traffic laws.


  • One text or call could wreck it all. Avoid distractions. 
  • Give pedestrians a break. Drive slowly when approaching crosswalks. 
  • Slow down at night or during bad weather. 
  • Stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, even if it is not marked. Stop well back so that drivers in other lanes also see the pedestrian in time to stop. 
  • Do not pass vehicles stopped for pedestrians. 
  • Be aware around schools and neighborhoods with children. 
  • Be especially attentive when turning, pedestrians or cyclists may enter the crosswalk while you wait to turn. 
  • Share the road with cyclists. 

Distracted Driving Campaign

The Town of Chapel Hill kicked off the Distracted Driving Campaign on February 15, 2012, with the DriveSquare driving simulator special event. Participants tested their driving capabilities while talking on cell phones and texting—an exercise in the dangers of distracted driving. The event was held on UNC’s campus and organized by the Chapel Hill Police Department and the UNC-Chapel Hill Department of Public Safety. It was sponsored by the Chapel Hill Police Department, Performance AutoMall, UNC Health Care and AAA Carolinas.

What is distracted driving?

Distracted driving is any action or activity that could divert a driver’s attention away from the principal task of driving. Distractions place everyone at risk! Drivers, passengers and pedestrians are all endangered when people allow themselves to be distracted while driving. ARE YOU A DISTRACTED DRIVER? Some examples of distracted driving include:

  • Texting 
  • Talking on a cell phone
  • Eating 
  • Grooming 
  • Reading, including maps 
  • Using a GPS navigation system 
  • Adjusting the radio


“I just wanted to express a quick thanks to the officers who were at the pedestrian crosswalk at 725 MLK this morning. There are so many dangerous drivers who speed around the cars that stop for us, it was really nice to see officers chase down the one I had to sprint to avoid. It looks like they were there investigating another such incident, so it was probably luck, but I was still very glad to see them there. Maybe increased police presence will encourage the aggressive drivers to exercise a little more caution.” – Halle Amick


NC Department of Transportation
Chapel Hill Police Department
UNC Department of Public Safety
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools
Town of Carrboro
Chapel Hill-Orange County Visitors Bureau
Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board
Go Chapel Hill!
UNC Highway Safety Research Center

Public Outreach & Education Events

  • Crosswalk Enforcement Outreach to Drivers 
  • Crosswalk Enforcement Outreach to Pedestrians and Cyclists 
  • Alcohol Checkpoints 
  • Seatbelt Enforcement 
  • Bicycle Safety Demonstrations 
  • Classroom Presentations (to Driver’s Education and other classes) 
  • Driving Simulator (Texting while Driving) 
  • Mock Crashes 
  • DUI Simulator Golf Carts for high school students 
  • Multi-media School Assembly Presentations
  • Festivals and Special Events Outreach

Contact Us

Please contact us for more information at Communications and Public Affairs at 919-968-2743 or Follow @ChapelHillPD and @ChapelHillGov on Twitter. Look for #WatchForMeNC, #makeroomforbikes #roadsafety #brightATnight Check traffic updates (including public safety outreach activities) at

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