The condition of pavements is limiting more than 3.5 million older people from walking in the UK, a new survey suggests.
Nearly one in three (31%) of respondents to the YouGov survey, carried out for walking charity Living Streets, said that cracked and uneven pavements limited them from walking ‘more or at all’.
24% of respondents named obstructions on pavements, including pavement parking, as a reason preventing them from walking, while 22% said people driving too quickly.
The survey also found that nearly half of older adults (48%) would walk more if their pavements were well-maintained, there were lower speed limits (28%) or more places to rest (25%).
The findings of the survey were published on 1 May to mark the beginning of National Walking Month, which this year urges local councillors to improve and prioritise pavement maintenance.
The #nine90 campaign aims to highlight the need for streets to be designed with nine-year olds and 90-year olds in mind, as then they ‘become accessible to everyone’.
Joe Irvin, chief executive of Living Streets, said: “If we all viewed our streets through the lens of an older adult – or a child, a wheelchair user or someone living with sight loss – we would soon begin to understand how unfit for purpose a lot of them are.
“Having well-maintained and clear pavements would help older adults walk more. We want local authorities to be reassessing their streets and seeing how they could be made better for people aged nine and 90 – and therefore better for everyone.”
The #nine90 campaign is backed by television presenter Kate Humble, who is calling for people to walk more during May.
She said: “Walking doesn’t have to be about climbing mountains; you can get just as much from a walk around your local town.
“What does make a difference is having a town which feels safe to walk in – whether you’re nine or 90.”