QUESTION: I have been told walking will help my physical problems. While I think walking a great exercise I am concerned with traffic and potential accidents. Do you have any hints on ways to reduce a chance of an accident?
ANSWER: Pedestrian safety is very important because it affects each of us every time we leave home whether as a pedestrian or a driver. Nationally, on average, a pedestrian is injured in a traffic accident every seven minutes and one in six fatalities is a pedestrian.
The first step to safety is in the pedestrian’s attitude. Although it is a driver’s responsibility to look and wait for pedestrians we know that isn’t always what happens. Those who walk need to be alert and concentrate on what is going on around them. It is not always the driver who is at fault.
Pedestrians should be realistic about their abilities. They should be aware of their capabilities and plan a route that is within their limits. This should include distance, existence of hills and crossing of main streets. Eyesight is also a concern. There is need to concentrate on surface conditions, curbs and steps. Also good shoes are essential. They should fit well and have good traction. Since about a quarter of pedestrian accidents occur at intersections, it is essential to know how long it takes to cross the street. If need be, always wait for a new green light or walk signal rather than try to cross on one that’s running down on time Obey all traffic signs and signals.
Pedestrians should always walk on the wrong side of the street. By this I mean walk facing the traffic. This makes walking safer as you can see the traffic coming toward you rather than having it coming from behind – this is most important since our cars now operate so quietly – they slip up on you without your knowing they are there.
Also pay attention to what is going on around you – don’t bury yourself in your phone and cover both ears with a head set. Be aware of what is happening, this allows you to avoid problems. You should always be aware of who and what is in the vicinity.
Walking with someone is always more pleasant so, if possible, find a buddy to share your walk. Walkers might also consider walking at a local mall. Many malls actually have walking clubs. It is an ideal place to walk, as the weather indoors is always pleasant, the footing always flat and there is no automobile traffic to worry about.
FRIDAY & Saturday – October 25 and 26 – 9:00 am to 3:00 pm – FALL ARTS & CRAFT FAIR at Simi Valley Senior Center, 3900 Avenida Simi in Simi Valley – admission is free – for information call (805) 583-6363 – on
Saturday the 26th join them for a $5.00 all you can eat pancake breakfast at 8:00 am.
Monday October 28 – 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks.
Tuesday October 29 – 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at Simi Valley Senior Center, 3900 Avenida Simi in Simi Valley
Wednesday October 30 – 8:00 am to 12 noon at Area Agency on Aging offices, 646 County Square Drive in Ventura.
Betty Berry is a senior advocate for Senior Concerns. The advocates are located at the Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91362 or call (805) 495-6250 or e-mail (please include your telephone number. You are invited to submit questions on senior issues.

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