I have a strong feeling that the momentum in North Carolina is moving in our direction! Yesterday , Deb Thompson (www.theadamlittlefoundation.org), Jeff Viscount (www.weeklyrides.com), Todd Spain (www.thepeletonproject.org), Gloria Carson (mother of Adam Little) and I (Ann) met in Raleigh with Johanna Reese, DMV Deputy Commissioner , Kathleen Johnson, Driver License Program and Paul Morris, Deputy Secretary of Transit. Deb initiated this conversation with Ms. Reese to request changes to driver education and testing to include motorist/cyclist interactions. Our hope was to get the entities that administer drivers’ education curriculum to add meaningful training for new drivers to teach them to be aware of cyclists on the road, to respect cyclists and to learn how to interact safely with them. We also hoped to add questions to the drivers’ license exam about motorist cyclist interactions. It turns out that DMV and transit are very open to these suggestions and more.
Gloria Carson brought instant perspective to the meeting as she talked about the death of son, Adam Little, killed two years ago by a distracted motorist with a bad driving record. Adam’s death embodies the fear we all have from close calls or intentional buzzings and Gloria conveyed that so poignantly to us all. It became almost a brainstorming session as cycling representatives and government officials discussed ideas for improving cycling safety. Among other items, we discussed a poster campaign through DMV offices for identify hand signals, using a simulator to incorporate motorist/cyclist interactions into on the road testing and Department sponsored PSAs.
We also learned more about the State’s intent to put together a comprehensive State-wide bike/ped plan: A request for proposals was issued a few weeks ago: http://www.ncdot.gov/doh/preconstruct/highway/roadway/eng_coord/pd/Bicycle_Pedestrian_04_05_12.pdf and a Plan is to be available by the end of the year for public comment. Officials expect the plan to provide uniformity throughout North Carolina for Bike/Ped planning with the end result of getting more people on bikes and providing safe places to ride. We were very encouraged that Mr. Morris invited us to provide input into the plan and we will communicate to you all as things develop.