Police trained on keeping cyclists, pedestrians safe - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Police trained on keeping cyclists, pedestrians safe

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APEX, N.C. -

Police officers from Apex, Knightdale, Durham Tech and N.C. Central got a lesson in how to spot potential dangers Thursday from a national expert on pedestrian and bicycle safety.

The clinic was part of the Department of Transportation's "Watch For Me" campaign to get everyone on the road to look out for each other.

It's a program cyclists and the DOT say is critical.

 "It's extremely serious," said Lauren Blackburn, director of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Division  of the DOT. "We have on average in the state over a 160 pedestrian fatalities a year and over 20 bicycle fatalities every year.

"That's way more than what we need to have."

Peter Flucke, president of We Bike, Etc., out of Green Bay, Wis., said clinics like the one Thursday can play an important role in saving lives on the road.

 "When  officers understand how crashes happen, understand the laws that relate to those, hopefully they can stop people before the crash happens and educate them about the laws so they can make better choices and everybody can be safer," Flucke said.

Cyclists know the risks well, from cars turning in front of them to cars passing them on a blind hill. The Triangle has seen several cyclists killed recently.

Chris Mangum, 58, was killed near North Hills in Raleigh in May when an elderly man cut in front of him. Mangum was a part of the C.C. Mangum construction family.

In July, Red Hat employee Seth Vidal was hit while on his bike.

In July of 2012, Steven Jordan, the director of the North Carolina Division of Mental Health Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services, died when a logging truck attempted to pass him.

Other law enforcement agencies will train for pedestrian and bike safety throughout next week.

There will also be signs on buses and radio ads beginning next month.

For more information, go to http://www.watchformenc.org/

Melanie Sanders

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