Many health and safety advocates will willingly subscribe to the notion that more Americans walking and riding bikes equates to a cumulatively healthier populace.
The only problem with that idea in much of Ohio and elsewhere across the United States is that, compared to a number of other nations, venturing outside the house in other than a motor vehicle can be a rather iffy proposition.
In other words, and as supported by statistics: In a given year, well more than 4,000 pedestrians die in car accidents when they are struck in crosswalks, walking along the sides of roads or otherwise trying to maneuver through dangerous traffic conditions.
In fact, safety statistics indicate that about 14 percent of all traffic-related deaths each year across the country involve pedestrians struck by motor vehicles. Those fatalities span all age groups; about 20 percent of all children who were hit by vehicles in 2010 died, and persons aged 65 years or older were involved in one-fifth of all pedestrian fatalities.
That has resulted in an observation from the elder advocacy group AARP that, “Clearly, the Unites States needs a strong multigenerational approach to improve road safety.”
Commentators say that such an approach should more closely track road designs and community demands that exist throughout Europe, where pedestrians and bicyclists more freely and safely co-exist with drivers. Most centrally, more effort needs to be made in future road design that stresses user-friendly sidewalks and street crossings.
A number of towns and cities are already involved with next-generation road design and planning that seeks to better address the needs of pedestrians and other non-motorized traffic.
Source: AARP, “Road safety for every age,” Jana Lynott, May 8, 2013