Safety while walking among older people: the intersection of mobility, road safety, physical fragility, gender and fears about personal safety

[Speaker] King, Mark J:1
1:Queensland University of Technology (Australia)

Across the world the population is ageing, with high income countries showing the greatest changes at present. High income societies are increasingly car-dependent, so giving up driving presents a challenge to mobility that in most cases can only be met by walking, either directly or in conjunction with public transport. Age-related changes affect the safety of road crossing, increasing the risk of being struck by a vehicle. Physical fragility increases the severity of these collision, and also contributes to an increase in falls while walking, a type of injury not included in road injury statistics even though the same transport infrastructure is used. Women form the majority of older people, and in the oldest age groups the numbers of women are growing most rapidly. However, older women are more likely to avoid walking for reasons of personal safety. The implications for mobility and health are discussed, along with possible interventions.
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