Elderly people are being left ‘isolated and embarrassed’ because they are unable to keep up with the green man on pedestrian crossings, new research has suggested.
Researchers at Glasgow Caledonian University found that 85% women over 65 years of age cannot walk at the speed required to make it across the road before the lights change to red.
The findings were presented to the Scottish Parliament on 5 October by Glasgow Caledonian University’s Professor Steultjens, who said that many older people don’t want to go into town anymore – and that crossing roads is one of the main reasons for that.
Crossing times at pedestrian lights are currently set in the expectation that a person is able to walk at a speed of 1.2m/s (roughly 2.7mph).
The findings were uncovered as part of preparations for a large-scale £1.8m study into rheumatoid arthritis. The researchers say a ‘small change’ to the timings of pedestrian crossings ‘could have a massive impact to the lives of many’.
Professor Steultjens, from Glasgow Caledonian University’s School of Health and Life Sciences, said: “We know from speaking to patients that the issue makes them feel embarrassed and unsafe and is leading to social isolation for many. People just don’t want to go into town anymore and this is one of the main reasons given.
“A small change to the timing on the green man light could have a massive impact to the lives of many and social participation.
“I do not feel this story about the many people suffering because of the green man is well enough known, and I think it is time that city centres consider whether they are catering for an ageing population and people who experience difficulties in walking.”