3 Key Changes Could Make Roads Safer for Older Pedestrians

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FRIDAY, July 22, 2022 (HealthDay Information)

Higher lighting and different modifications to road crossings might enhance pedestrian security for seniors — the age group almost definitely to be killed by oncoming automobiles.

Researchers pored over 4 years of Oregon crash knowledge for places thought of harmful for walkers age 65 and older. They known as for modifications to enhance visibility and illumination, to extend the usage of left-turn site visitors alerts and shorten crossing distances.

“Higher lighting at intersections and close to crossing places, fast flashing beacons and different units like ‘Pedestrian Crossing’ warning indicators with flashing LEDs would doubtless assist quite a bit,” stated research co-leader David Hurwitz, an assistant professor of engineering at Oregon State College.

Although the undertaking used knowledge from Oregon collisions, it offers a framework for different states to develop their very own security suggestions.

The research discovered that about 20% of crashes occurred at darkish locations with restricted road lighting. Eight % occurred at daybreak and 5% at nightfall, when ambient lighting is low.

Changing “permissive” left turns for drivers at sure places into “protected” ones would additionally assist, Hurwitz stated.

A permissive left flip requires anticipating a break in oncoming site visitors, whereas a protected left flip permits the motive force to go when a inexperienced arrow gentle comes on.

“In a permissive left flip, drivers can turn into so targeted on searching for a niche within the site visitors that they do not see pedestrians,” Hurwitz stated in a college information launch. “Growing the usage of protected left turns in places the place a permitted flip could also be tough can enhance the protection of older drivers in addition to pedestrians as a result of it reduces one of many extra complicated driving duties.”

In some cities, modifications have pressured left-turning automobiles to decelerate with “sluggish flip wedges” and “hardened heart strains,” Hurwitz stated.

A wedge, outlined by pylons within the intersection, makes drivers flip extra sharply. Which means they should sluggish first. A hardened heart line, constructed of thick posts known as bollards, prevents drivers from crossing the middle line earlier than they’re alleged to.

About 25% of accidents nationwide during which a car hits a pedestrian happen when a car is popping left.

Older pedestrians are among the many almost definitely to be killed in site visitors accidents, in line with the Nationwide Security Council. Nationwide, there have been 709 site visitors fatalities involving pedestrians between 65 and 74 years of age.

“As a bunch older pedestrians are extra frail, stroll extra slowly and are at elevated threat of falling whereas strolling,” Hurwitz stated. And a few of these individuals may additionally have an inhibited potential to make protected highway crossing choices resulting from imaginative and prescient or listening to impairments and cognitive decline.”

Shortening crossing distances might enhance security by decreasing publicity time, he famous.

This could possibly be achieved by putting in pedestrian islands within the median, curb extensions and raised crosswalks. “Highway diets” — decreasing the variety of automobile journey lanes in an space — is one other technique.

“Our principal goal was figuring out low-cost therapies that could possibly be extensively carried out, however taking a look at methods to deal with dashing may additionally assist enhance older pedestrian security and needs to be a spotlight of future work,” Hurwitz stated.

The findings had been just lately revealed in Transportation Analysis File: Journal of the Transportation Analysis Board.

Extra data

The Nationwide Freeway Site visitors Security Administration has extra on pedestrian security.

SOURCE: Oregon State College, information launch, July 19, 2022

By Cara Murez HealthDay Reporter


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