Traffic Safety Campaigns

Together we can make our streets safer

Thank you for your involvement in the Change Lanes to Pass campaign!

The City of Roanoke recently completed a Traffic Safety campaign that aimed to:

  • Reduce car and bicycle collisions
  • Increase awareness of the change lanes to pass law and the requirement to give 3’ minimum when passing

Although the campaign wrapped up on June 21, you can still pick up a yard sign. Anyone that would like a Change Lanes to Pass yard sign can pick 1 or 2 up from any of the local bike shops listed below during their normal business hours.

Bike Shops:

  • Cardinal Bicycle + Cafe (Grandin Village), 1312 Winborne St SW, Roanoke, VA 24015
  • Cardinal Bicycle (Orange Ave.), 2901 Orange Ave NE, Roanoke, VA 24012
  • Good Times Cycle and Adventure, 1318 Riverland Rd SE, Roanoke, VA 24014
  • Just the Right Gear, 2265 Catawba Valley Dr, Salem, VA 24153
  • Trek Bicycle Roanoke, 3224 Brambleton Ave, Roanoke, VA 24018
  • American Flyers, 1906 Main St SW, Roanoke, VA 24015

Use the menu to the left to learn more about the campaign and download campaign materials.

Change Lanes to Pass Campaign Materials

School Zone Safety Campaign Materials

Special thanks to Roanoke Valley Television (RVTV) for directing and producing these videos.

Social Media Graphic – Download

Order a No Need to Speed(R) – Keep Students Safe yard sign. You are welcome to keep your yard signs for as long as you’d like, but if you want to return them please return them at the City Transportation Division: 1802 Courtland Rd NE.

No Need to Speed Campaign Materials

Special thanks to Roanoke Valley Television (RVTV) for directing and producing these videos and to Kat Pascal, Leola Eduards, Luke Pridy, Garrett Brumfield, Rachel Ruhlen, Ana Anderson, Viana and Joana Garland for participating in the videos.

Every week, the campaign focused on a different quadrant in the City to spread awareness about the dangers of speeding. Hear from neighbors all across the city about why this campaign is important to them:

“No Need to Speed” yard signs were used as an engagement tool during the duration of the pedestrian safety campaign. You are welcome to keep your yard signs, but if you want to return them please return them at the City Transportation Division: 1802 Courtland Rd NE.

Every Corner is a Crosswalk Campaign Materials

The Roanoke Pedestrian Safety Campaign kicked off on July 17 with a Facebook Live Event. The event included videos from local and national organizations with a variety of pedestrian safety tips and historical tidbits. These videos and more are shared here.  Take a look and help to spread the word by posting and sharing the videos, using #RoanokePedestrianSafety

In Virginia, every corner is a crosswalk whether it's painted or not. Drivers: Stop at the corner. Pedestrians: Cross at the corner.

St Andrews – Download

Memorial Bridge Image

Memorial Bridge – Download

Every Corner is a crosswalk yard sign“Every Corner is a Crosswalk” yard signs were used as an engagement tool during the duration of the pedestrian safety campaign. The City of Roanoke staff will be picking up yard signs that are in City right-of-way during the month of September.  You are welcome to keep your yard signs for as long as you’d like, but we ask you to remove them from the City right-of-way.

If you want to return your yard sign please contact Andrea Garland at andrea.garland@roanokeva.gov to pick them up.

Campaign Press Release

Posted on: July 14, 2020

The city of Roanoke Launches “Every Corner is a Crosswalk” Pedestrian Safety Campaign

The goal is to reduce vehicle crashes involving pedestrians;

Virtual kickoff event planned for Friday, July 17

More people venturing out as the economy reopens means more summertime pedestrians on the city’s sidewalks and streets. But that also increases the chances of pedestrians being struck by vehicles. It’s more important than ever to pay attention to pedestrian safety, and so the City of Roanoke this week is launching a new pedestrian safety campaign: “Every Corner is a Crosswalk.” The goal is for people who drive to follow the law and stop for pedestrians at painted and un-painted crosswalks and for pedestrians to be predictable by crossing at the corner or a designated crosswalk throughout Roanoke. Read More

Change Lanes to Pass Campaign Details

The 2023 Roanoke Traffic Safety Campaign ended on July 21, 2023. The campaign, led by the City of Roanoke and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, ran for six weeks, with the goals of reducing car and bicycle collisions, and increasing awareness of the change lanes to pass law and the requirement to give 3’ minimum when passing.

The Change Lanes to Pass campaign included a mix of campaign activities including paid, donated, and earned media to raise awareness of the campaign. The campaign also included community engagement activities intended to encourage community members’ involvement in the campaign and help the campaign reach more people.

The campaign’s final report and summary one-pager are available below.

School Zone Safety Campaign Details

The 2022 Roanoke Pedestrian Safety Campaign ended on May 27, 2022. The campaign, led by the City of Roanoke and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, ran for six weeks, with the goals of reducing speeding and improving pedestrian safety near school zones.

The campaign’s final report and summary one-pager are available below.

No Need to Speed Campaign Details

Street safety is more important than ever. Slower driving leads to fewer crashes and fewer deaths and injuries. To help reduce speeding and decrease speed-related crashes, the City of Roanoke received a Virginia Department of Motor Vehicle grant to create the second phase of the citywide pedestrian safety campaign, called No Need to Speed. The campaign ran from June 21 to August 15, 2021 with the goals of:

  • Reduce speeding and speed-related crashes
  • Increase awareness of speeding as a pedestrian safety issue

Thank you to the following organizations for helping to promote this campaign:

  • Roanoke Valley Television (RVTV)
  • Roanoke City Schools
  • RIDE Solutions
  • Roanoke City Police Department
  • Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission
  • Black Lantern Inn
  • Roanoke Public Libraries
  • Greater Deyerle Neighborhood Association
  • Southeast Action Forum
  • Noble Neighborhood Watch
  • Greater Grandview Neighborhood Association
  • OSW, Inc. Neighborhood Organization
  • Farmburguesa
  • Woodrow Wilson Middle School
  • Noel C. Taylor Learning Academy
  • Lincoln Terrace Elementary School
  • Fairview Elementary School
  • Monterey Elementary School
  • Fishburn Park School
  • Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital

City of Roanoke staff analyzed crash data to identify and prioritize locations to focus on in the No Need to Speed campaign. Although the campaign aims to reach residents citywide, the selected corridors provided a basis for the campaign approach and locations for traffic speed studies. The City of Roanoke staff will conduct traffic speed studies at each of the ten locations (shown on the map below) before and after the campaign to determine the campaign’s impact on traffic speeds.

Map of the City of Roanoke streets highlighting the 10 priority corridors selected for the 2021 Speed Awareness campaign

The No Need to Speed Campaign includes a mix of campaign activities including paid, donated, and earned media to raise awareness of the campaign. The campaign also includes community engagement activities intended to deepen community members’ involvement in the campaign and help the campaign reach more people.

The No Need to Speed campaign ended on August 15, 2021. The campaign’s final report and summary one-pager are available below.

Every Corner is a Crosswalk Campaign Details

In the City of Roanoke, too many pedestrians are hurt or killed in crashes with cars. To help decrease pedestrian-involved crashes, the City of Roanoke applied for and received a Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles grant to create a citywide pedestrian safety campaign. The eight-week campaign ran from July 13 – September 4, 2020, with the goals of:

  •       Reducing the number of crashes between vehicles and people walking
  •       Increasing compliance with Virginia state law at crosswalks for both drivers and pedestrians
City of Roanoke map displaying pedestrians related crashes between 2014-2017-

Pedestrian Crash Map

Click here to see a map of where there were pedestrian-involved crashes between 2014 and 2018.

The Roanoke Pedestrian Safety Campaign included a mix of paid media and community outreach to reach people who live or work in the City of Roanoke. Campaign materials aimed to increase awareness of an important part of Virginia law: that in Virginia, every corner is a crosswalk, whether it’s painted or not.

Campaign materials included:

  • The radio
  • TV
  • Valley Metro buses
  • Berglund Center Marquees
  • Communications from City agencies and local businesses
  • Yard signs and posters throughout the community

In 2020, The City of Roanoke hosted a Art Contest where residents of all ages were invited to submit designs to have their artwork placed as a vinyl wrap over a signal cabinet. Congratulations to the 2020 winners:

  • Carly Almarez
  • Renae Dower
  • Molly Kernan
  • Hannah Wheeler
  • Sunni Purviance
  • Eliza Kraus

The Roanoke Pedestrian Safety media campaign ended on September 30, 2020. We will continue to spread the word on pedestrian safety with our social media and infrastructure projects. The campaign’s final report and summary one-pager are available below.

For Drivers

3 Feet & Pass Law

Virginia law states that drivers passing bicyclists traveling in the same direction must allow a minimum of 3 feet of space between their vehicle and the bicyclist. If the travel lane is not wide enough to allow this, the driver must change lanes. VA Code 46.2-839.

Virginia law also states that drivers shall cross a double yellow line in order to give a bicyclist at least 3 feet of space when passing. VA Code 46.2-804.

After passing, the driver shall return to the right side of the road only once clear of the passed bicycle. VA Code 46.2-839. Learn more here.

Traffic Speed Laws  for Drivers

Virginia law states that drivers may receive a fine of up to $200 if they exceed the maximum speed limit. VA Code 46.2-878.2.

The speed limit for elementary and middle school zones in the City of Roanoke is 15 mph on neighborhood roads or 25 mph on arterial (busier) roads. School zones will be marked by a speed limit sign with a flashing light or the hours posted that indicate when the reduced speed is in effect. Drivers may receive a fine of up to $250 if they exceed the speed limit in a school zone. VA Code 46.2-873. Learn more here.

Crosswalk Law for Drivers

Virginia law requires people driving to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk, whether it is painted or not. Drivers may be more familiar with painted crosswalks, but they should know that every intersection (or corner) is a crosswalk whether it is painted or not. VA Code 46.2-926

Careless Driving Law

Virginia law prohibits driving in a careless or distracted way that causes serious bodily injury to a vulnerable road user (such as a pedestrian). Drivers may receive a fine of up to $2,500 and one year in county jail for committing careless driving that injures a vulnerable road user. VA Code 46.2-816.1

Hands Free Law

Virginia law prohibits using any handheld communication device while driving. Drivers may receive a fine of $125 for a first offense, and a fine of $250 for a second for subsequent offense. VA Code 46.2-1078.1.

How People Driving Can Prevent Crashes:

Obey the speed limit

  • Travel the speed limit and at safe speeds for roadway conditions
  • Follow slower speed limits in school zones, neighborhoods, and parks

Be aware

  • Be aware of your surroundings and always on the lookout for pedestrians (especially children) on the side of the street. Be prepared to slow down and stop should a pedestrian step into the road.

Look for people crossing the street before turning right or left

  • Before turning right or left, look for pedestrians and stop for them.
  • When turning right on red, come to a complete stop and scan for pedestrians. Only proceed when it is clear.

Stop for pedestrians at all crosswalks, and remember some crosswalks are not painted

  • When in doubt, consider that just about every corner in Virginia is a crosswalk. While some crosswalks are painted, many are not.
  • Stop for pedestrians who have a “Walk” signal and anyone in a crosswalk. Drivers must stop even if the pedestrian is crossing once the “Walk” signal has expired.

Change lanes to pass bicyclists

  • When approaching a bicyclist (whether they are riding on the road, shoulder, or bike lane) slow down, wait until there is no oncoming traffic, then change lanes to pass, allowing at least 3 feet of space between your car and the bicycle.
  • Return to your lane only once you’re clear of the passed bicycle.
  • Change lanes even if a bike lane is present.

For Bicyclists

How People Biking Can Prevent Crashes:

Be aware

  • Stop and look both ways before entering the street
  • Before turning, use hand signals and look all ways
  • Be aware of motor vehicle blind spots while riding or when stopped at an intersection

Ride defensively

  • Anticipate the actions of other road users and watch for road hazards
  • Pass vehicles with extreme care – turning vehicles may not see you
  • Exercise great caution when riding in bus traffic – watch out for buses pulling to and from curbs and passengers getting on and off buses

For Pedestrians

Crosswalk Laws for Pedestrians 

Virginia law says that pedestrians have the right of way in crosswalks and at intersections. However, the law also says that pedestrians should never step into the crosswalk (painted or not) if there is not enough time for a driver to stop. While painted crosswalks are easy to see, unmarked crosswalks are not. Unmarked crosswalks exist wherever streets intersect, at the corners of the street. VA Code 46.2-924

How people walking can prevent crashes:

Be predictable

  • Cross at the corner or designated crosswalk. Drivers won’t expect you to cross mid-block without a crosswalk, and you may be held accountable for a crash if you are not in a legal crosswalk.

Expect the unexpected

  • Look both ways for right and left-turning vehicles before you cross. Cross only when it is safe to do so.

Always cross at the corner, rather than mid-block

  • If there is not a painted crosswalk mid-block, don’t cross there. Walk to the corner and cross there instead.

Follow the signals

  • Use the pushbuttons to cross, when they are available. In Roanoke, some push buttons trigger “Walk” signals, and others trigger green lights which give you the right-of-way to cross the street in the same direction of the traffic flow. 
  • Always look both ways before crossing the street.

Contact Us

If you have questions or concerns about this campaign or traffic safety in your neighborhood, contact:

Rob Issem, Complete Streets & Vision Zero Coordinator

Robert.Issem@roanokeva.gov

Related Updates

The City of Roanoke is working on several infrastructure projects to upgrade pedestrian facilities throughout the city.

Announcing Brandon Avenue Safety Improvements Project
Receiving 2021 with new pedestrian intersection updates throughout Downtown

Announcing the 2020 Color your Corner Art Contest Winners
This is Luanne Rife’s story, whose life was forever changed after being struck by a driver while walking in a crosswalk.

New Crosswalk Signal Downtown Roanoke

Pedestrian Safety Action Plan

The following intersections will be improved with pedestrian pushbuttons and countdown beacons, ADA and paving marking upgrades

  1. Bullitt Avenue SE and 9th Street SE
  2. Williamson Road NW and Epperly Avenue NW
  3. Williamson Road NW and Truman Ave NW
  4. S Jefferson Street and Bullitt Ave SW
  5. Campbell Avenue SW and 3rd Street SW
  6. Elm Avenue SW and Franklin Road

The following intersections in Downtown Roanoke will be upgraded with audible pedestrian countdown beacons.

  1. Campbell Avenue and 1st Street
  2. Campbell Avenue and 2nd Street
  3. Church Avenue and 1st Street
  4. Franklin Road and 1st Street
  5. Franklin Road and 2nd Street
  6. Jefferson Street and Salem Avenue
  7. Jefferson Street and Campbell Avenue
  8. Jefferson Street and Church Avenue
  9. Jefferson Street and Franklin Road
  10. Salem Avenue and 1st Street
  11. Salem Avenue and 2nd Street
  12. Williamson Road and Campbell Avenue
  13. Williamson Road and Church Avenue
  14. Williamson Road and Franklin Road

A new Rapid Rectangular Flashing Beacon will be installed at the intersection of Williamson Road SE and Bullitt Avenue SE

Leading Pedestrian Intervals

FAQ

Change Lanes to Pass Frequently Asked Questions

The Roanoke Traffic Safety campaign aimed to reduce car and bicycle crashes by raising awareness of Virginia’s law that drivers must change lanes, giving at least 3 feet of space to pass bicyclists safely.

From 2008 to 2021, crashes involving bicyclists have increased in Roanoke. We also know that when a vehicle is involved, the crash is likely to result in injury or even death. A campaign focused on driver-passing behavior is a strategic way to address high-injury, bicyclists-involved crashes, and inform drivers of a relatively new Virginia law.

The campaign lasted 6 weeks, running from June 12, 2023 to July 21, 2023.

Cyclists have full use of the road, even if a bike lane is present. If you’re behind the wheel and wonder why a cyclist isn’t using the bike lane, keep in mind that debris – including broken glass and tree branches – often gets blown into the bike lane by passing cars. A cyclist may realize it’s safer to ride on the road than the bike path and risk a flat tire or crash. Make sure to give them space. (Source: Roanokeva.gov)

Yes. Virginia law says drivers shall give at least 3 feet and change lanes to pass even if a bicyclist is in a bike lane.

If there is no oncoming traffic, when it is safe to do so, a motorist may pass a cyclist in a no-passing zone. The driver should slow down, confirm the sight line is adequate, there is no oncoming traffic and there is enough time and space to safely pass the cyclist before initiating the pass.

Yes, when motorists and cyclists each have their own lanes some collision types are reduced. Buffered, protected and separated bicycle lanes increase safety further.

Yes! Virginia law says drivers shall cross a double yellow line in order to give a bicyclist at least 3 feet of space when passing.

Slow down and pass when the road ahead is clear and there is no oncoming traffic, giving at least 3 feet of space between you and the bicyclist.

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2023-10-30T18:10:35+00:00
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