Pedestrian Safety

We're so glad you wanted to take a walk with us. Walking is great exercise, and you can go almost anywhere on your own two feet. Plus, it's free. But walking can also be dangerous. How can you avoid getting into a crash?

Well, let's see.

Safety Tips for Walkers

Always walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk and you have to walk in the road, always walk facing traffic to see any car that might go out of control.

Dress to be seen. Brightly colored clothing makes it easier for drivers to see you during the daytime. At night, you need to wear special reflective material on your shoes, cap, or jacket to reflect the headlights of cars coming towards you.

Tips for Crossing the Street

  • Cross only at corners or marked crosswalks.
  • Stop at the curb or the edge of the road.
  • Stop and look left, right, and left again before entering the street.
  • If you see a car, wait until it goes by. Then look left, right, and left again until no cars arrive.
  • If a car is parked where you are crossing, ensure no driver is in the car. Then, go to the edge of the car and look left-right-left until no cars are coming. Keep looking for cars while you are crossing, and remember, walk. Don't run.

Older Adult Pedestrians

While fewer in number, pedestrian crashes involving older adults are devastating to their victims. Generally, older adults are struck while crossing streets in crosswalks or by drivers making turning movements through crosswalks. Older adults are very law-abiding pedestrians.

Most older adults struck are in good physical condition. They are out on foot, walking for business or pleasure or to maintain their health. Most have many years of healthy life ahead. Still, they are fragile. Being struck by a car is often a death sentence. If they survive the crash, they may be disabled or confined to a nursing home. The victim's life suffers in quality and is severely shortened.

Older adults are very receptive to well-crafted safety messages. They need to know about the threats presented by cars making turns. They need to know that choice of footwear (good traction) and more visible clothing (bright and visible) are important factors in protecting themselves.

Helpful Links

Focusing On the Senior Pedestrian

In 2020, pedestrian crashes took the lives of 1,190 senior adults ages 65 and older. U.S. Department of Transportation. Federal Highway Administration. Learn more on the Federal Highway Administration website.

Give Elderly Pedestrians More Time to Cross Intersections

Hey! Older Pedestrians Need More Time Than That to Cross a Street!

This article focuses on the need for longer traffic walk lights, zoning, and education for the older pedestrian population. Emily Smith of the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center wrote this article for the Partnership for a Walkable America.

Ice, Snow & Slippery Sidewalks: For Many Seniors, Winter Is "Hip Season"

This article focuses on hazardous winter walking conditions and their effect on the senior population. Emily Smith of the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center wrote this article for the Partnership for a Walkable America.

Access for Individuals with Disabilities

Transportation networks must be accessible to and usable by people of all ages and abilities. This includes pedestrians using wheelchairs, pedestrians with vision loss, individuals with cognitive disabilities, and older adults with limited mobility and vision or hearing.  For pedestrians with disabilities, details matter, and poor design can be a barrier to travel. Read more here:

Contact Cortland County Access to Independence for education, advocacy, and access to a lending closet for assistive devices.

Way2Go Cortland County is a place to look for alternative transportation options when safety is of concern.