In 2010, 4,280 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in 2010, which was a 4% increase over 2009. Approximately 13% of all people killed in pedestrian accidents in 2009 were 65 and older and nearly 200,000 were injured.
For older Americans, walking is very important. Not only is it a form of transportation but it increases quality of life and provides many health and psychological benefits.
For the elderly, walking helps them maintain their independence, increases their muscle mass and balance and decreases depression. Walking is associated with greater health and increases a person’s life span.
Unfortunately, compared with other age groups, the elderly are more likely to be injured or killed in a pedestrian accident.
As people age, their vision decreases, their hearing diminishes and they are more prone to falls. Sometimes, the maintenance of sidewalks and streets in a community can make walking difficult for the elderly.
The elderly involved in pedestrian accidents might fall victim in the following scenarios:
- A car or truck that is backing up out of a driveway, parking spot or side street strikes an individual.
- An elderly person is struck in a crosswalk and the Walk signal had turned to yellow
- An elderly person steps off a curb and a car making a turn strikes them.
Safety Tips for Elderly Pedestrians
The following safety tips can help the elderly stay safe as they walk for exercise, to run errands or across a parking lot to get into their car:
- Make sure you are seen by motorists when you walk.
- Watch for backing vehicles
- Wear reflective clothing and carry a flashlight at nighttime.
- Carefully choose your walking route and choose routes with safety benefits such as benches, sidewalks and proper lighting.
- Walk with friends
- Avoid walking if you feel faint or ill
- Avoid walking in extreme heat
- Advocate for safer streets
- Refrain from using a cell phone while walking.
Advocate for Safer Streets
As a resident of a city, the elderly can contact their city government about things they notice that are an impediment to walking:
- Report broken or blocked sidewalks to the Public Works Department.
- Contact the City Council or City Manager to request sidewalks in areas where there are not one.
- Contact the Transportation Department if a traffic signal timing does not seem adequate.
- Call the police if you notice drivers speeding or failing to yield in a particular area.
- Talk to a property owner if they have shrubs or trees that encroach on a sidewalk.
- Report broken or inadequate lighting to the Transportation Department.
Government can take action in making streets safer and more accessible for pedestrians. Cities should mark crosswalks, especially those near senior housing and school, with signs and painted stripes. In addition, they can restrict parking near crosswalks and provide curb extensions at crosswalks. Prohibiting right hand turns on Red signals may also increase pedestrian safety.
Washington Personal Injury Attorney Represents Pedestrian Accident Victims
This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represents people who have been seriously injured in pedestrian accidents and the family of those who have been killed.