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Sunday 29 January 2023 Dublin: 7°C
Shutterstock/Luis Santos
# stuck in the middle
Traffic lights are changing too quickly for a lot of old people
The average Irish person walks at around 1.33 metres per second.

A LOT OF older Irish people are having a difficult time crossing the road.

According to new figures, around one third of adults aged 65 to 74 struggle to make it across in time – a number that doubles to two thirds of adults aged 75 and over.

These numbers have been put together by the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) who work out of Trinity College Dublin.

Speaking about the findings, its author Orna Donoghue, said:

Crossing the road is an important part of everyday life for many people but these findings highlight that pedestrian light settings often do not match older adults’ walking abilities.

How long does it take to cross the road?

There is no fixed time for how long each light is shown for, with the phasing varying depending on the width of the road.

The study is working off of the assumption that the green man indicates that individuals should start to cross the road, while the amber light indicating that individuals should continue to cross the road if they have already begun to do so.

If a pedestrian starts to cross the road as the light changes from green to amber, they have to move at a speed of 1.2 metres per second to make it to the other side.

Across the Irish population, the average walking speed was 1.33 metres per second.

This dropped to below the required 1.2 metres per second for older men and below 1.1 for older women.

walking speed

How big a problem is it?

While men and women over 65 may have difficulty cross in the allotted time – their problem is compounded when they are doing something else at the same time.

Around 75% of Irish adults aged 65 and over walked below the required speeds when carrying out a cognitive task.

Speaking about the impact of the report, Dr Donoghue, said:

Not being able to cross the road comfortably can impact on older adults’ social engagement, physical activity, functional independence and quality of life.

In the report the possibility of increasing the length of time pedestrians have to cross is suggested, although it is acknowledged that the impact on traffic flow and driver behaviour would have to be considered before any change being introduced.

Read: “We told the drivers: if you can go, keep going”: What happens behind the scenes at Dublin Bus

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