In a July 11th article in the Newark Star Ledger it was stated that while 6.5% of New Jersey residents are seniors citizens 75 and older, they make up 13% of the pedestrian accidents.
With our elders facing giving up their car keys, needing to use public transportation to get around, and walk to stores along roadways or on sidewalks, sidewalks, curbs, bus shelters, lighting and way finding systems, and traffic signals need to be updated and upgraded to support the independence and safety of this significant population.
There are some things elders can do to minimize risk when walking on sidewalks and roadways.
• Get to know your route and plan it out well. Look for low curbs, well-lit areas, and good traffic and walk signals.
• Wear flat sturdy slip on or tied shoes. No open toed sandals or backless slides.
• If you need a cane or walker use it.
• Wear sunglasses and/or prescription glasses if required.
• Wear your hearing aides.
• Walk with a friend. There is added safety and presence in numbers.
• Always cross at the cross walk and with the light. Never rush to get through a light.
• Look both ways when stepping off the curb regardless of which direction traffic is flowing.
• Utilize people around you and ask for someone to walk with you as you cross the roadway.
• Never walk on the side of a road that has no sidewalk.
• Women put your pocket book over your shoulder to free your hands.
• Limit the number and weight of parcels you carry.
• Do not walk at night.
Remember pedestrians have the right of way, most people will allow you the time you need to get across the street so take your time! Walking is good for you at any age. Be mindful and prepared when you walk on active streets and roadways.