The Watch for Me safety campaign aims to reduce pedestrian and bicycle injuries and deaths through a comprehensive, targeted approach of public education, community engagement, and high-visibility law enforcement. Winston-Salem's campaign is part of the statewide "Watch for Me NC" program to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety.
This page has information for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians to help keep everyone safe and avoid traffic citations!
About Watch for Me NC: Watch for Me NC began in 2012 with a pilot program involving four communities. Since then, more than 50 communities have participated. Up to 10 communities are selected to participate each year. More information about the program is available at WatchForMeNC.org.
Watch For Me NC Applicable Laws
- Drivers are required to yield to pedestrians at marked crossings and unmarked crosswalks at intersections except where there is a traffic or pedestrian signal. (N.C. General Statute 20-155)
- Drivers must stop for pedestrians and bicyclists at stop signs and flashing red lights and must yield for pedestrians at flashing yellow lights. (N.C. General Statute 20-158)
- Drivers making right or left turns must allow pedestrians and bicyclists to cross first, unless pedestrians are prohibited from crossing. (N.C. General Statute 20-173) Pedestrians or bicyclists on sidewalks have the right of way, so drivers must let them pass before turning into or out of driveways and parking lots. (N.C. General Statute 20-173)
- State law prohibits drivers from passing vehicles stopped for pedestrians in crosswalks. (N.C. General Statute 20-173(b)
- It is incumbent upon drivers to make sure the road is clear of pedestrians before pulling forward or backing up. (N.C. General Statute 20-154)
- Pedestrians have the right of way at marked crossings, meaning cars must yield to pedestrians. (N.C. General Statutes 20-155 and 20-173)
- State law requires pedestrians to use marked crosswalks when they are provided, and it is unlawful to cross a street outside a marked crosswalk if the pedestrian is between two signalized intersections. (N.C. General Statute 20-172)
- When NOT at an intersection or marked crosswalk, pedestrians must yield the right of way to all vehicles. (N.C. General Statute 20-174)
- At crosswalks with pedestrian signals, state law requires that pedestrians obey the "Walk" and "Don't Walk" signs in the same way a driver must obey red or green lights. (N.C. General Statute 20-172)
- State law requires pedestrians walking along the road to use sidewalks when available. (N.C. General Statute 20-174)
- When sidewalks are not available, pedestrians are to walk to the far left edge of the road facing traffic. Walking in this direction gives pedestrians the best view of traffic. (N.C. General Statute 20-174)
- Bicyclists must ride on the right in the same direction of traffic and as far to the right as is safe and practicable. (N.C. General Statute 20-146)
- Bicyclists must obey all traffic signs and signals. (N.C. General Statute 20-158)
- Bicyclist must use hand signals to communicate intended movements, such as turns or stops. (N.C. General Statute 20-154)
- At night, bicyclists are required to use a front lamp visible from 300 feet and a rear reflector that is visible from a distance of 200 feet. (N.C. General Statute 20-129)
- Bicyclists under 16 years of age must wear a bicycle helmet on public roads, public paths and public rights-of way. (N.C. General Statute 20-179)
- All child passengers under 40 pounds or 40 inches must be seated and secured in a child seat or bicycle trailer. (N.C. General Statute 20-179)
- Bicyclists being passed by a motor vehicle or another bicyclist should remain as far to the right as possible and not increase their speed while being overtaken. (N.C. General Statute 20-179)
- Bicyclists must yield the right-of-way before entering or crossing any main-traveled or through highway if the roadway they are on is posted with a "yield right-of-way" sign. (N.C. General Statute 20-158)
Other Bicycling Resources
The Winston-Salem Bicycle & Pedestrian Program worked together with the Police Department to develop educational materials that could be used to inform bicyclists of their rights and responsibilities as they enjoy cycling around the city. Our goal is to educate citizens so they can safely travel on city streets and sidewalks and share spaces with respect so that enforcement is seldom needed.
This three-panel wallet card—Rights, Laws & Safety Tips for Bicyclists—folds compactly to fit in a pocket or wallet. Police officers keep them on hand to give to bicyclists who may not be aware of their responsibilities as vehicle operators on city streets.
This brochure provides an overview of tips for pedestrians, motorists, bicyclists and residents.
Bilingual Safety Cards
These cards provide tips for each group to create a safer environment for bicyclists and motorists as they share city streets. The cards are provided with English on one side and Spanish on the other.
Tips for Cycling Defensively in Traffic
Please view the Defensive Bicycling Tips document [pdf/207kb/5p] for bicycle tips that will make your bicycle riding safer and more enjoyable.
Bike Smarts Safety Town Course
In May 2013, the Bike Smarts Safety Town course was officially opened to the public. The result of a collaboration between the Forsyth County Health Department, the city's Recreation & Parks Department, the city's Bicycle & Pedestrian Program & Transportation department, and the local Safe Routes to School Program, this skills course gives new life to a former tennis court near Kimberley Park Elementary School. It is designed for children ages 4-10 to practice their bike skills in safe area away from traffic. The course is open free of charge to the public during daylight hours.
The course includes a practice lane for children to practice riding in a straight line within the lane, giving hand signals, and looking over their left shoulders for vehicles. They can then put these skills to use on the simulated street, where stop and yield signs as well as crosswalks teach them skills for street riding.
Scout troops, youth organizations, and individual families are encouraged to take advantage of this unique resource.
Public Service Announcements (PSAs)
These public service announcements about bicycling and walking are designed to encourage more people to cycle and walk and follow the rules of the road so everyone can interact safely.
The following links open in a new window.
The City of Winston-Salem through its Bicycle and Pedestrian Program works to promote safe bicycling for recreation, health and transportation. Here are some of the strategies for encouraging cycling:
- Walk & Roll Winston-Salem
- Community Bike Ride
- National Bike Month & Bike to Work Week— May is National Bike Month that includes Bike to Work Week a national encouragement program sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists, usually during the second week of May. The Bicycle & Pedestrian Coordinator works with different organizations in the city to sponsor special events each day and to encourage people to try biking to work.
While the Winston-Salem Police Department is working to educate cyclists and motorists about safely sharing the city’s streets, the police may also enforce state and local laws, writing citations for cyclists or motorists where they deem it appropriate.
Bicyclists in Winston-Salem have the same legal status as motor vehicles. Therefore, bicyclists have full rights to use the roadways and also have the responsibility to obey the laws and operate safely. The Winston-Salem Department of Transportation wants to encourage cyclists to become familiar with Winston-Salem biking laws and North Carolina biking laws designed to inform citizens on how to safely share the road.
To view the North Carolina statewide laws, please visit the NCDOT Bicycle Laws of North Carolina website. (This link opens in a new window; the linked site is not part of the City of Winston-Salem.)
Sec. 42-281. Definition
The term bicycle, as used in this article, shall mean a device having two or three wheels in tandem, a steering handle, one or two saddle seats and pedals by which the vehicle is propelled.
Sec. 42-282. Applicability of traffic laws
Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by the laws of the state (G.S. 20-38(38)) declaring rules of the road applicable to vehicles or by the provisions of this chapter applicable to the driver of a vehicle, except as to special regulations in this chapter and except as to those provisions of law and ordinances which by their nature can have no application.
Sec. 42-283. Obedience to traffic control devices
(a) Any person operating a bicycle shall obey the instructions of official traffic control devices and traffic control signals applicable to vehicles, unless otherwise directed by a police officer.
(b) Whenever authorized signs are erected indicating that no right turn, left turn or U-turn is permitted, it shall be unlawful for any person operating a bicycle to disobey the direction of any such sign, except where such person dismounts from the bicycle to make any such turn, in which event such person shall then obey the regulations applicable to pedestrians.
Sec. 42-284. Manner of riding; restriction on number of persons riding
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person propelling a bicycle to ride other than astride a permanent and regular seat attached thereto.
(b) It shall be unlawful for any person to use a bicycle to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed and equipped.
Sec. 42-285. Riding on roadway
(a) Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right-hand side of the roadway as practicable, exercising due care when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction.
(b) It shall be unlawful for persons riding bicycles upon a roadway to ride more than two abreast.
Sec. 42-286. Right-of-way of pedestrians; riding on sidewalk
(a) Whenever any person is riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk, such person shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian.
(b) It shall be unlawful for any person to ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk in the following locations or on the following streets;
(1) Central business district.
(2) Sunset Drive from First Street to Glade Street.
(3) Liberty Street from 14th Street to 17th Street.
Sec. 42-287. Speed
It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a bicycle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions then existing.
Sec. 42-288. Carrying packages or other article
It shall be unlawful for any person operating a bicycle to carry any package, bundle or article which prevents the rider from keeping at least one hand upon the handlebars.
Sec. 42-289. Parking
It shall be unlawful for any person to park a bicycle upon a street other than upon the roadway against the curb or upon the sidewalk in a rack to support the bicycle or against a building or at the curb, in such manner as to afford the least obstruction to pedestrian traffic.
Sec. 42-290. Lamps and other equipment
(a) Every bicycle, when in use at nighttime, shall be equipped with a lamp on the front which shall emit a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front and with a red reflector on the rear of a type which shall be visible from a distance of at least 300 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful upper beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle. A lamp emitting a red light visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear may be used in addition to the red reflector.
(b) Every bicycle shall be equipped with working, functional, adequate brakes.