Culture and Behavior Change Initiatives In Hickory to Improve Road Safety For All

Last couple posts highlighted two specific traffic accidents caused by inattentive driving in Hickory, NC - and Hickory is not alone. As the evidence shows (from,...
1975-2021 US Traffic Crash Graph
...despite all the current rules, regulations and enforcement policies in place, the number of road accidents and resultant injuries and deaths throughout the US has only increased in recent years. The only way to bend that accident trend downward is to think and act differently.  
To that point, here in Hickory, we're working on two mutually supportive initiatives intended to improve safety for all motorized and non-motorized road users. Briefly, those efforts include:
Hickory Safe Streets For All Logo
  • A business and community-led Safe Streets For All (SS4A) initiative aimed at changing road behavior and culture by setting mutually agreeable standards and expectations and promoting their practice to encourage individual and communal road safety accountability.

WPCOG Comprehensive Highway Safety Plan RFP

  • A Western Piedmont Council on Government (WPCOG)-led effort to draft a Comprehensive Highway Safety Plan through North Carolina Dept. of Transportation (NCDOT).
    • “Highway” here means all forms of motorized and non-motorized road transportation.
    • That plan will address traffic safety concerns in all four WPCOG supported counties: Catawba, Caldwell, Burke and Alexander.
    • NCDOT is now vetting consultants to draft that plan with local community input.
    • Once we have a consultant in place, we will ask that consultant to build a website to link to the QR code in the SS4A logo above.

BikeWalkNC filming of 2 traffic safety videos in Charlotte, NC

Coincidentally, while we’re working on the above two efforts, we at BikeWalkNC, a North Carolina statewide bike and pedestrian safety advocacy organization (I’m a board member representing the Hickory area), just shot and are now editing the following two safety public service announcement (PSA) videos with Charlotte-based Foreword Films (
  • Take the Lane” illustrates the point that NC state law and policy encourage drivers to take an entire lane, even across a double yellow line into an open oncoming traffic lane, when passing cyclists to make that pass as safe as possible both for the cyclists and drivers.
  • We’re All in This Together” shows why it is necessary to watch attentively for pedestrians to clear crosswalks completely before stopped drivers and cyclists at a red stop light in opposing traffic start to move when that same traffic light turns green in their favor. 

Changing behavior and culture are the highest bars we as humans can ever strive to rise to and clear, but that is exactly what we need to do to make roads safer for all, and the active examples you see above are just the start.

More soon about progress!

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