Seniors At Risk for Pedestrian Accidents

Seniors Need More Time to Cross Safely

According to Edmonton, Alberta city statistics, seniors are far more likely to be killed in a pedestrian accident than younger walkers.  Five of the six pedestrian fatalities this year were people aged 65 years and older, the Edmonton Journal recently reported.

The 2010 Pedestrian Death Review, conducted by the Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario also supports this statistic and found that “Pedestrians over 65 years of age accounted for a strikingly disproportionate share of fatalities based on their representation in the population.” Elderly pedestrians may have limited mobility, hearing, eyesight and slower reaction times which make them more susceptible to traffic accidents.

A new program, giving older pedestrians and disabled people more time to cross the road, has been implemented in Singapore. Using a swipe card, qualifying pedestrians are given between 6 and 13 additional seconds to cross an intersection, depending on the size of the crossing. The Green Man Plus program was launched in 2009 by the Land Transport Authority and by the end of this year, more than 500 intersections will be equipped with the system. Many cities worldwide offer discounted transit passes for seniors; they could be combined with technology to extend crossing times at intersections.  Seniors would only require one card for moving throughout the community both on foot and with public transportation.

While remaining healthy in old age requires activity, finding the balance between safety and daily exercise will require more attention by municipalities as the older population continues to grow.

Pedestrian Safety Tips

  • Stay in predictable areas – use crosswalks and don’t jay walk.
  • Make eye contract with drivers and be alert for turning drivers who may not see you
  • Only cross with the light – it is illegal to walk on a “no walk” signal
  • Wear bright, visible clothing – at night wear reflective clothing and carry a flash light
  • Keep aware of surroundings
  • Walk facing traffic if sidewalks are not available
  • Drug and alcohol use can be a risk for pedestrian accidents