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>Report: Bergen and Passaic counties dangerous for elderly walkers

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bergen and Passaic counties ranked among the five worst in New Jersey for older walkers, according to a transportation report released Wednesday.

The Tri-State Transportation Campaign study, based on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data, found that while adults 65 and older make up roughly 14 percent of Bergen County’s population, they comprised 30 percent of pedestrians killed between 2005 and 2007.

In Passaic County, the non-profit organization , which promotes transit-friendly communities, found that seniors 65 or older make up 11 percent of the population, but 23.5 percent of those killed in pedestrian accidents.

“Older pedestrians are less likely to survive getting hit by a car or truck,” said Zoe Baldwin, New Jersey advocate for the New York-based group. As a result, she said, transportation officials should incorporate safety measures that protect older walkers.

Those include engineering crosswalks so that the distance from once side of a street to another isn’t too long, banning right turns at red lights, and extending the time pedestrians have to cross the street.

“I’m in my mid-20s and if I’m in the middle of the intersection when it starts flashing, ‘Don’t Walk,’ there’s a problem,” Baldwin said. Communities “don’t always think of children, seniors or disabled people as they cross the road.”

Read tehe full report on Bergen County conditions here:

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