The Older Pedestrian

Walk SignalOlder pedestrians are less likely to survive a collision than younger people. It is also a fact of life that aging brings with it a reduction in perceptual abilities such as poorer vision, depth perception and increased chance of confusion. Add bad walking habits to the mix and an already risky situation becomes worse. All of the things that we teach our children to survive in traffic are equally applicable to older pedestrians.

Use a sidewalk if one is available, otherwise, walk facing the traffic. This will either remove you from the normal path of motor vehicles or allow you to watch them approach and decide to get out of the way if necessary.

Cross at intersections or in marked crosswalks after stopping to look and listen carefully. Hearing loss coupled with very quiet automobiles requires that an older pedestrian use all of the senses available to them to avoid stepping out in front of an approaching vehicle.

If you are walking at twilight or in the dark, at least wear light coloured clothing. Better still, wear reflective clothing and carry a flashlight. Consider the purchase of a flashing light band meant to be worn on an arm or a clip on light for your belt. You cannot be too visible!

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Comments

Intersections Safer?

From the article:
Cross at intersections or in marked crosswalks after stopping to look and listen carefully. Hearing loss coupled with very quiet automobiles requires that an older pedestrian use all of the senses available to them to avoid stepping out in front of an approaching vehicle.

I'm 60 years old.
I walk about half an hour each morning from my home in Walnut Grove to the new Carvolth Exchange south of the Freeway.

I have taken to jaywalking across 88th between 204 St and 202 St for the following reasons:
-- At the intersections cars are coming from 4 separate directions.
-- Drivers make left- & right-turns regardless of the status of the walk/don't walk signals
-- Drivers are not expecting pedestrians at intersections at that time of morning
-- The intersection serves to bunch traffic together with the pedestrians, and forces them to interact.

-- Crossing midway between the two means that I have to look in only one direction.  If it is clear there is no possibility of some driver making a surprise turn into me.
-- After walking to the median, I have only one direction to look again.

From December to February, I had to jump out of the way of cars 3 times at the intersection.

Since the 3rd time, I've jaywalked.  It might not actually BE safer, but it sure FEELS safer.

Note that this is not really possible except in the v early morning when traffic is light.

Thanks for the great columns!
--BM
 

 

 

 

 

Submitted by E-mail

As a 68-year Campbell River woman who uses the sidewalk adjacent to a busy highway for a brisk walk 30 - 40 minutes each day, I qualify as an OP! You cite 'poorer vision', 'confusion', and 'hearing loss' as risk factors for OP.  My vision? I need glasses for reading.  My hearing? I can't hear an electric car or a bike approaching from behind - can you?  Confusion - you bet!!!!!  I'm confused by cyclists unlawfully riding on the sidewalk who approach me from behind without signalling a warning with either a bell, a horn, or calling out "on your left!" to alert me!  I'm confused by drivers who egress driveways and do not stop until they have completely blocked the sidewalk so that, after I've avoided being clipped by them, I'm forced to either walk in front of or behind them -- or stand and wait until there's a clearing in traffic so they can proceed! I'm confused by other pedestrians of any age approaching me wearing their earphones, heads down texting, and almost walking into me!  I'm confused by dog walkers who do not heel their dogs as they approach me and instead extend the leash so the dog can run between my feet!   I'm confused by drivers who, when I have the "Walk" sign, feel the need to make their turn in front of me! Confused in my 'old age'? Absolutely! 

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