Educating Older Pedestrians

Many older pedestrians are in good physical condition. They are out on foot, walking for business or pleasure or to maintain their health. Most have many years of healthy life ahead. Still, they are fragile. Being struck by a car is often a death sentence. If they survive the crash, they may be disabled or confined to a nursing home. Older adults are often struck while crossing streets in crosswalks or by drivers making turning movements through crosswalks.

Key Messages for Older Pedestrians

Older adults are generally receptive to well-crafted safety messages. In addition to the general messages described in the "Adult Pedestrian" section, key messages for older pedestrians could include:

  • The threats presented by cars making turns.
  • Tips for crossing intersections slowly but safely.
  • Good choices of footwear (for better traction) and visible clothing (bright and reflective).

Strategies for Educating Older Pedestrians

  • Initiate campaigns to targeted settings/situations where older pedestrians may be concentrated (e.g., retirement communities, healthcare clinics/hospitals, libraries, churches, etc.).
  • Contact established organizations, such as AARP, that may already have a strong network with the older pedestrian community.

Helpful Links

Caminando a Traves de los Años: La Cita - A video focused on educating older Spanish-speaking adults on safety risks for older pedestrians.

Give Elderly Pedestrians More Time To Cross Intersections - This study of five urban intersections in Miami identifies the problem encountered by elderly pedestrians.

Hey! Older pedestrians need more time than that to cross a street! - This article focuses on the need for longer traffic walk lights, zoning, and education for the older pedestrian population.

Ice, snow and slippery sidewalks: For many seniors, winter is "hip season" - This article focuses on hazardous winter walking conditions and the effect they have on the senior population.

Focusing on the Senior Pedestrian - This is a document from the FHWA that focuses on crash statistics of elderly pedestrians.

Pedestrian Safety Workshop: A Focus on Older Adults - This one-day workshop is intended to initiate discussion about how to improve walking conditions and safety for older pedestrians. To enhance dissemination of the workshop, three, free web-based options are available: watching an adapted version of the workshop, getting an instructor training, or preparing to make a brief presentation targeted to older pedestrians.