Chapel Hill just got a lot safer for people who walk and bike. Last week, the Chapel Hill Town Council voted to pass an ordinance banning right turns on red signals at 17 intersections across the area.
We commend the council members’ vote and urge them to consider further measures to make downtown Chapel Hill less reliant on cars.
We have seen turning cars almost hit pedestrians on the crosswalks at the intersection of Franklin and Columbia streets, and we have witnessed cyclists narrowly avoid being clipped by drivers turning right on red lights on Cameron Avenue and Rosemary Street.
In 1984, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that at about 80 percent of intersections where motorists are allowed to turn right on red, pedestrian crashes increased by about 60 percent and cyclist crashes by about 100 percent.
Chapel Hill becoming more pedestrian and cyclist-friendly benefits nearly everyone in the community, especially the poor and the elderly.