Have you ever wondered why insurance companies offer better rates for more experienced drivers and higher premiums for young drivers with less experience behind the wheel? Statistically speaking, a young man is more likely to get in a wreck than a middle-aged woman, and their insurance premiums will reflect this. For example, it is not uncommon to see a first-time young male driver quoted upwards of $200/mo. for auto insurance. Conversely, a middle-aged driver with a clean driving history can get much better rates, based on their history and the demographic bracket they fall into. Insurance companies are assessing their risk, as they’re basically agreeing to be financially responsible for a driver’s decisions and judgment behind the wheel.
The creator of the Serve Safe, Drink Safe, Do the Right Thing campaign, Asheville Attorney Lakota Denton, is following up on his campaign video by printing and distributing 10,000 coasters to be given for free to bars, breweries, and restaurants in Asheville to help support the message of serving and drinking safely. The campaign, which was designed to raise awareness and promote safe practices around alcohol service and consumption in Asheville, received more than 40,000 views on social media and urges bartenders and bar owners not to over-serve patrons in Asheville, as well as urging patrons not to overindulge when visiting Beer City USA.
In part 3 of our “Asheville’s most dangerous roads” series, Attorney Lakota R. Denton examines Asheville’s most dangerous roads and intersections, as outlined by data from the NC DOT. Attorney Denton urges drivers in Asheville to Slow Down, to help us keep Asheville safe and walkable for our citizens, children and pets.
Hi, I’m attorney Lakota Denton, creator of the Slow Down Asheville campaign. And as part of our series of “Asheville’s most dangerous roads”, I want to talk to you about an intersection at South Tunnel Rd. and Swannanoa River Rd. And this is a very dangerous intersection for a number reasons. There is a high incidence of pedestrian accidents here according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation. And one of the reasons that we can see, just from looking at it, is that there are no pedestrian crosswalks, and there is no lighted pedestrian signal.
This is a busy, busy intersection, with 4-5 lanes of traffic at each road, there is a pharmacy right behind you, there is a pizza place, Walmart is right down here, there is a shopping center right over there, and there are a lot of people walking around here. There is no safe way to cross this intersection. Another problem is that it’s confusing for not just pedestrians, but for drivers. You can see I’m standing on a sidewalk here, and this sidewalk enters the intersection, and the same sidewalk goes along that bridge on the other side of this road. Now according to North Carolina Law, if there’s a sidewalk that comes into the intersection here, and continues over there, then it is called an “unmarked crosswalk”. And that is important because pedestrians have the right of way in an unmarked crosswalk.
So technically, there is an unmarked crosswalk right here, where I could cross at any time, and I have the right of way. But there’s a light system here for the cars, and these cars are going to go when that turns green, probably regardless of whether they see me or not. So it’s confusing for pedestrians, it’s confusing for drivers. How should you cross this road safely? And if you’re a driver, what do you have to look for? Because there are no painted crosswalk signs, there are no lighted crosswalk signs, but there are pedestrians and there is this unmarked crosswalk. We’re pointing this intersection out to you, as a reminder to Slow Down, look for pedestrians in the intersection, look for pedestrians crossing streets where there are no crosswalks, and just slow down in these high congested areas. Thanks.
Asheville residents who have ever walked in our city know the dangers of being a pedestrian in a growing region. Some of the most pedestrian-heavy areas in Asheville are also the most dangerous for people walking or bicycling. This phenomenon is not specific to Asheville; dozens of growing cities across the country are experiencing similar growing pains that are hazardous or even deadly to pedestrians. The need for more pedestrian-friendly city planning is evident here and in other cities with rising populations.
Asheville’s Street Design
A recent study by the Governors’ Highway Safety Association noted a dramatic rise in the number of pedestrian deaths from 2015 to 2016. Nearly 6,000 pedestrians were killed in 2016. Last year’s increase reflects a trend of rising numbers of pedestrian deaths overall; pedestrian fatalities also rose from 2014 to 2015.
As part of our Slow Down Asheville program which aims to ensure the safety of Asheville’s children, pedestrians and pets, we sat down with Brother Wolf Animal Rescue’s Mike Stiles, to discuss what he sees as the biggest threats and challenges to pet safety in Asheville. Lakota R. Denton is a proud business sponsor of Brother Wolf and No-Kill Asheville. Thanks, Mike Stiles for your time and insight, and thanks to Brother Wolf for their support of Slow Down Asheville!