Thursday 14 June 2012

Britain is no country for old men trying to cross the road safely in town and city

An article in the 'Daily Mail' today was entitled :

Pelican racetracks! Green man crossings are a death trap for any pensioner not nimble enough to walk at 4ft per second, warn researchers

As children, our first lessons in crossing the road teach us to wait for the green man.
But as we approach our twilight years, it seems, we are more likely to be praying the green man will wait for us.

A new study says the green man is not staying on for long enough to ensure that pensioners can cross safely University College London researchers, working for the journal 'Age and Ageing', have reported that average crossing times are out of step with the needs of old men and women and called for guidelines to be revised.

They made the following points, that :

*  old men and women are being put in danger by crossings which assume that people of all ages are capable of walking at a speed of just under 1.2m or just under 4 feet per second  – the standard pace allowed while the green man light is steadily lit.

* someone moving at the speed would take less than five seconds to cross a road which is 16 feet wide, however, only 24% per cent of old men aged 65+ and 15% of old women can manage such a speed, leading researcher Dr Laura Asher to say : "The current king speed most of the older population in England from using pedestrian crossingds ".

fear of not being able to cross the road safely can deter old people from leaving home and carrying out everyday tasks such as going to the shops or visiting friends leading, Dr Asher to say : "For older people, the ability to venture outside of the home is not only important for health but is also important to maintain social networks and independence."

* Michelle Mitchell, of charity 'Age UK', said: "Older people should not have to feel vulnerable when they are doing something as basic as crossing the road."

The BBC report on the crossings :

Pelican crossings introduced when there was more time for old men to cross the road in 1974 :

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