NYC Plans to Improve Safety for Senior Pedestrians
Pedestrian accidents with seniors have a higher risk of fatalities.
According to early estimates, fatal pedestrian accidents in the U.S. are at a 40-year high. Many of the victims are ages 65 or older, but New York City has a plan to make things safer for seniors.
The NYC Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) says roadway design contributes to a higher risk of severe or fatal injury-causing accidents to senior pedestrians. However, the city says it can reduce the danger with modifications, mindful construction, best practices to engineer safety, and public outreach.
The NY DOT report, “Pedestrian Safety and Older New Yorkers,” notes that pedestrian accidents involving seniors have not increased in New York. Still, their weaker immune systems and fragile bodies are more likely to be seriously injured or die in a pedestrian crash. The report highlights problems and proposes solutions.
NYC pedestrian accident hotspots for seniors
Fatal pedestrian- and serious-injury-causing accidents can happen anywhere. But in NYC, some neighborhoods see more fatal pedestrian crashes involving seniors than others. According to the NYC senior pedestrian safety report, communities with the highest rate of senior victims of fatal pedestrian accidents include:
- Little Italy.
Citywide, Midtown-Midtown South has far more fatal pedestrian accidents involving seniors than anywhere else. Last year, the neighborhood saw 223 fatal senior pedestrian accidents. The fatal senior pedestrian accident rate was more than 5,500 per 100,000 seniors.
The DOT report shed more light on the problem of fatal NYC pedestrian accidents involving seniors. Here are some of the report’s key findings:
- The senior population is increasing in NYC.
- People 65 and older make up 15 percent of the city’s population but 45 percent of pedestrian fatalities.
- Left-turn failure to yield accidents are the cause of twice as many fatalities for seniors compared to younger people.
- Fatal pedestrian accidents involving seniors are most likely to occur in the middle of the day.
As part of the safety report, the city recently unveiled a 17-point action plan to improve safety for senior pedestrians. Steps include:
- Create senior pedestrian safety zones constructed or renovated with the safety of senior walkers in mind.
- Extend times at senior pedestrian safety zone crosswalks.
- Install senior turn-calming treatments at targetted intersections.
- Improve bus stop safety.
- Have the NYPD conduct day-time, high-visibility enforcement of measures that protect senior pedestrians.
- Conduct community outreach and education.
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