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Older pedestrians at greatest risk of being struck

Associated Press

Older pedestrians are more than twice as likely to be struck and killed by cars or trucks than those under age 60, according to a new report by a group studying transportation issues in New Jersey, southern New York and Connecticut.

Brooklyn was among the five most dangerous places, the report found.

The Tri-State Transportation Campaign found the risk of being killed while walking rises with age. Pedestrians over age 60 are 2.4 times more likely to be fatally run down than those under 60, the report showed; for people over 75, the risk is three times higher.

The organization found 435 people over 60 died in pedestrian accidents in the region from 2008 through 2010, accounting for one-third of the total number of tri-state pedestrian-vehicle deaths during the period. People over 60 make up about 17 percent of the population. The death rate for pedestrians in the region over age 60 declined slightly from 2007 through 2009, but it increased for those 75 and older.

Litchfield County, Conn., was the most dangerous for older pedestrians, the report showed. Nassau County, Queens and Brooklyn in New York and Hudson County, N.J., rounded out the top five.

The annual "Older Pedestrians at Risk" report released Wednesday found older people less agile and perhaps unable to quickly get out of the way of oncoming vehicles. Crosswalk signals sometimes change too quickly to accommodate older pedestrians, the report found. And older people who have given up driving may be walking more.

The tri-state region appears to be more far dangerous for older pedestrians than the rest of the country.

"The pedestrian fatality rate for people aged 60 and older in downstate New York, New Jersey and Connecticut is 64 percent higher than the rest of the country," the report noted. "Those 75 and older suffer a fatality rate that is 72 percent higher" than in other states.

Two-thirds of the older people who are killed die on roads with two or more lanes in either direction.

The organization said even the most dangerous roads can be made more pedestrian-friendly. For example, the New York City Department of Transportation's Safe Streets for Seniors program makes roads easier for older pedestrians to navigate by adding sidewalks and other infrastructure targeted to their needs.

Generally, the group recommended keeping pedestrians in mind when designing new roads and fixing the most dangerous intersections so they are more senior-friendly.

August 17, 2012 - 8:52am


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