Mayor Bill Ham Speaks on #KnowWhenToGo


Missed Mayor Bill Ham’s column in this Saturday’s edition of the Opelika-Auburn News? Read it here!

Some of you have been calling City Hall with a question. What are the bowties currently found on some street signs in Auburn?

In response, I have a question for you. Do you know when to go?

As to those street signs, we’ve unfortunately had to let down a few hopeful callers who thought they knew what the bowties were for. I hope they weren’t too disappointed to learn that the bowties have nothing to do with finding critters in Pokémon Go.

But they do have to do with finding something. The bowties you’ll see on signs and volunteers for the rest of July are a reminder to find your way safely. They’re part of the 2016 Travel With Care campaign, an annual educational campaign that reminds us all of the rules of the road.

Specifically, the bowtie reminds us of the basics. When we’re in formal wear like a bowtie, we’re typically on our best behavior. The Southern hospitality that comes naturally to Auburn residents is in full swing. Courtesy and responsible behavior are at the forefront, and we’re paying special attention to others for whatever event or social gathering has us in that formal tux or gown.

Southern hospitality, courtesy, responsibility and looking out for others shape the outlook we should have every single time we get behind the wheel, behind the handlebars or set out on foot.

Because when we travel with care, we’re taking care of not only ourselves but also our neighbors and their children. When we’re cautious and responsible on our roadways we’re protecting everyone in our community from the life and death stakes associated with making a mistake on the road. When we’re courteous to our fellow travelers, we help keep Auburn a great place to live.

But then you may have another question. Why? So many of us drive, bike and walk every single day. We already know the rules of the road. What can a campaign like Travel With Care teach us?

You might be surprised. In the pre-campaign survey, our campaign team found some interesting results. Many of us, for example, don’t know what color a yield sign is. It’s a pretty basic, and important, traffic sign, but survey takers gave several different answers. Just in case you’re wondering, yield signs have been red since 1971.

Apparently, we need to be more on the lookout for those red signs. Failing to Yield Right-of-Way and Failure to Heed Signs & Signals remains the number one cause of reported traffic incidents in Alabama, with more than 25,000 related crashes in 2014. That’s why the focus this year is on “Know When To Go,” a campaign theme centered on failure to yield right-of-way in all modes of travel including driving, bicycling, walking and using mass transit.

Please visit to give yourself a refresher on yielding and other transportation safety rules and issues. Listen for the Travel With Care radio ads, follow Travel With Care on social media and look out for Travel With Care volunteers downtown. Please do your homework to make sure you “Know When To Go.”

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