For many seniors on Long Island, walking is their main form of transportation. However, a recent study found that getting around by foot is dangerous for seniors in the tri-state area. On July 10, 2013, Newsday published an article reporting on the findings of the Tri-state Transportation Campaign. According to their study, Nassau ranked third in pedestrian related fatalities and Suffolk ranked 7th in the downstate area. Specifically, Nassau County averaged 4.56 fatal accidents per 100,000 people age 60+ from 2009-2011 and Suffolk averaged 1.96 per 100,000 which is very close to the overall US average of 1.99 per 100,000. Newsday states that Nadine Lemmon, a member of the advocacy group, attributes Nassau counties higher average to its denser population and greater reliance on mass transit.
What can be done to decrease these numbers? Lemmon recommended getting drivers to slow down with additions such as canopies of trees and curbs that veer out into the street as believes people tend to drive faster on open road. In addition, countdown traffic lights and wider islands between lanes were also recommended. An increase in New York State’s safety budget may also be necessary since only 2% is spent on road safety.
There are also a number of ways you can take the safety of yourself or your loved ones into your own hands. There are many transportation services throughout the Island in addition to mass transit that can be utilized to lessen or eliminate the need to walk. For example, Nassau County residents can use Able Ride and Suffolk residents can use SCAT. Some individual towns also offer resources to ensure the safe transportation of seniors. For example, North Hempstead’s “Project Independence”. Contact your town to find out if they offer something similar. Your local senior center may also provide transportation for shopping or medical appointments. Click here to find contact information for the senior center closest to you. To find out more about what resources are available to you, your local Department of Aging is always a great place to start: Nassau County Office for the Aging and Suffolk County Office for the Aging. You can also view our list of NY transportation services for seniors by clicking here.