Age and gender differences in perceptions of traffic risk and safety for older pedestrians in metropolitan Sydney, Australia

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Journal Article
Journal of Australasian College of Road Safety, 2013, 24 (4), pp. 28 - 36
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Older pedestrians are over represented in serious injury and fatality statistics compared to younger age groups and are considered to be at fault in over 72% of pedestrianmotor vehicle crashes. This study sought to investigate the perceptions of risk and safety in the local traffic environment as reported by older people in the course of everyday pedestrian journeys by asking them to complete a kerb-side survey. The majority of the older pedestrians interviewed (475 women: 265 men) considered that they engaged in safe pedestrian activity and that their own behaviour did not make them vulnerable road users. Perceptions of risk were predominantly associated with external factors such as motorist behaviour and traffic speed. Men tended to be more confident of their own abilities in traffic situations, reported less difficulty crossing roads and paid less attention to route selection than women. Increasing age (65 to 95 years) did not appear to change these perceptions. This is an important consideration for caregivers and medical practitioners when discussing road safety issues with older people, and a critical concern for professionals involved in the planning and implementation of traffic awareness and road safety campaigns for older people.
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