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Pedestrian Safety Efforts in Town

by | Sep 14, 2023


Citizens need to move easily throughout the town and region, so government will provide a variety of options, such as sidewalks, bike paths, greenways, connected streets, and transit.

“Because we pride ourselves in being a walkable and bikeable community, we need our community members to feel safe on our roads and sidewalks, and pedestrian safety is of utmost importance.”  – Mayor Rusty Knox

The Town of Davidson continues efforts to educate its community, residents, and visitors by prioritizing safety culture. Stemming from residents’ input, the Board of Commissioners passed Town Ordinance Sec. 70-46 designating pedestrian safety zones in high traffic areas and streamlining enforcement policies throughout town. Pedestrian Safety Zones are intended for all within the zone to practice behaviors that promote predictability and encourage mutual responsibility and respect where drivers, walkers, and cyclists share space.

Safety culture is a part of the Town’s 2022-2023 strategic plan, its comprehensive plan, and the Davidson Vision Zero Action Plan. The town remains committed to investing time and resources to carry out the goals of its pedestrian-friendly community. This public safety initiative to enforce illegal road crossings is in direct alignment with Vision Zero Davidson and focuses on decreasing pedestrian injuries and deaths through a comprehensive, targeted public education approach including high-visibility law enforcement.

Initially, enforcement will concentrate on two of town’s most high-volume vehicular and pedestrian areas: Main Street (from Griffith Street to Eugenia Street, near Carrburritos) and Jetton Street (from Milkbread to Harris Teeter). A month-long warning period took place from August 4-September 4, 2023 including verbal warnings and educational materials provided to those who violated the town ordinance. Please review the Town Ordinance for a complete list of approved pedestrian safety zones. 

The Town’s effort includes three overlapping pillars: Education, Enforcement, and Infrastructure.



Residents and visitors alike may notice new banners and sidewalk stickers designed with a ‘friendly owl.’ As of August, 2022 this wise spokesperson, who remains aware of their surroundings, is an intentional choice to indicate pedestrian safety zones in a contextually sensitive way. The banners, designed with attention-grabbing roadway colors and the message to ‘STOP.LOOK.WAIT, Keep Our Crossings Safe,’ are hung at sight level for drivers to see as they enter and exit the designated zones. The intentional crossing lines at the bottom of the image are there to serve as a reminder to pedestrians to utilize crosswalks.

Watch For Me NC

Community members- residents and business owners- all share the responsibility in making sure that North Carolina roads are safe for everyone, including pedestrians and bicyclists.  Safe places to walk and bike are important for supporting active, vibrant communities.  The “Watch for Me NC” program aims to reduce pedestrian and bicycle injuries and deaths through a comprehensive, targeted approach of public education, community engagement, and high visibility law enforcement.  On this site, you can learn more about how to be a safe driver, bicyclist, and pedestrian, and ultimately, reduce the number of people hit or killed by vehicles on NC streets. Click HERE to learn more.

Watch for Me NC also has several helpful resources:

ICU Campaign

The Town of Davidson launched its ICU campaign in May 2013. This pedestrian safety initiative was designed to educate pedestrians and motorists in an effort to reduce accidents which could result in injury or death. By encouraging pedestrians and drivers on Davidson streets to think “ICU” (I See You), everyone stays safe when traveling around town.



A driver is not required to stop until a pedestrian enters the crosswalk, and the pedestrian should not enter the crosswalk until it is safe to do so. Stand near the street, use a walker flag, or take a step on the crosswalk so the intent to cross is clear to drivers.  Make eye contact with the driver, and watch for the vehicle to slow and stop. Give a vehicle plenty of room to stop. Consider driver perception, reaction time, and braking distance. For a regular size passenger car traveling 20 mph, it takes approximately 63 feet to come to a stop.

  • DO NOT run or walk into a crosswalk without first stopping and checking for traffic.
  • Make sure the intent to cross is clear.
  • Make sure the vehicle has adequate time and distance to stop.
  • Increase visibility by: wearing bright colors, using the walker flags where they are available, making eye contact with drivers, and making sure that vehicles are slowing down or stopping before continuing across.


A driver must yield to a pedestrian within the crosswalk. Drivers should slow their speed as they approach crosswalks and be prepared to stop. It is the responsibility of drivers to stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk.



North Carolina Law

The driver of any vehicle upon a highway within a business or residence district shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing such highway within any clearly marked crosswalk, or any regular pedestrian crossing included in the prolongation of the lateral boundary lines of the adjacent sidewalk at the end of a block, except at intersections where the movement of traffic is being regulated by traffic officers or traffic direction devices[§20-155(c)].

Town of Davidson Ordinance 

Town Ordinance Chapter 70, Article II – Operation
Section 70-46.- Improper Crossing of Roadway in Pedestrian Safety Zone
The ordinance designates pedestrian safety zones in high traffic areas and streamlines enforcement policies throughout town. Pedestrian Safety Zones are intended for all within the zone to practice behaviors that promote predictability and encourage mutual responsibility and respect where drivers, walkers, and cyclists share space. The fine for this ordinance violation shall not exceed $30.00.Criminal enforcement of G.S. 14-4provisions do not apply. Enforcement of civil penalties for ordinance violations begins September 5, 2023.



The Town of Davidson is dedicated to providing a safe network of sidewalks, crosswalks, sidepaths, multi-use paths, and greenways for residents and visitors alike to be able to travel safely on foot around town.

There are a variety of safety measures throughout the Town of Davidson with respect to pedestrian safety:

  • Pedestrian Safety Zones (PSZ)– In the Town of Davidson, a pedestrian safety zone is an area where there is a high volume of pedestrian and vehicle traffic adjacent to or roadways leading to business and institution locations. The image at the top of this article shows the locations of the pedestrian safety zones. 
  • Leading Pedestrian Intervals – This type of traffic signal phasing starts the pedestrian phase several seconds before any conflicting vehicle movement is given a green light. This allows the pedestrian to reach the middle of the crosswalk before a vehicle starts to move, which makes the pedestrian more visible to the motorist. A leading pedestrian interval is designed to improve safety for pedestrians while limiting delays for motorists and traffic backups.
  • Pedestrian Crosswalk Flag – After students from the Community School of Davidson created and tested the crossing flag concept at several intersections in town, Davidson’s Board of Commissioners decided to expand flag usage to promote the safety of our residents. Pedestrians are encouraged to wave an orange flag when at the edge of the crosswalk, to make eye contact with any vehicles, and then proceed across the street. The flag can then be placed in the receptacle for another pedestrian to use. The flags have tape which increases visibility at night.
  • Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs) – Funded through a Safe Routes to School grant from the North Carolina Department of Transportation, pedestrian flashing beacons are pedestrian activated signals to alert drivers of pedestrians crossing streets.
  • Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons (HAWK signals) – HAWK signals consist of a traffic light installed on a mast arm above the vehicle travel lane(s) at a crosswalk. When a pedestrian operates the WALK button, the traffic light operates similar to a normal traffic light signal, displaying a red STOP indication. After a timed crossing period, the light goes dark again. For an instructional PDF, click HERE.
  • In-Street Pedestrian Crosswalk Signs – In-street pedestrian signs are the best way to get the attention of drivers on Davidson’s streets. There are sings in the middle of selected crosswalks alerting drivers to stop for pedestrians.


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