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Calls for green man to stay lit up longer


By Tom Donnelly

A road safety charity is urging the government to increase road crossing times in the UK.

Campaigners have called for three extra seconds to be added to the time the green man lights up at pedestrian crossings, over concerns about the safety of older people.

Give older people more time

A report by charity Living Streets found that most people over the age of 65 walk much slower than four feet per second, which is the current assumed walking speed.

The timings have not been studied since the 1950s, meaning that the country's ageing population has not been taken into account.

The charity has launched its Give us Time to Cross campaign after a study by University College London (UCL).

Researchers found that the average man over the age of 65 walks at a pace of 0.9 metres a second, while women over 65 walk at 0.8m/s.

Review of pedestrian crossings

The Department for Transport is scheduled to conduct a review of signal controlled crossings next year, which could see crossing timings extended in England, Scotland and Wales.

Dr Jennifer Mindell, a senior lecturer in public health at UCL, led the research into walking speed

She said: "We found that the amount of time given to pedestrians to cross a road assumes a walking speed that is much too fast for most older people.

"They have insufficient time to reach the far side, so may decide not to even try.

Impact on older pedestrians

"The impact on the older population is therefore not just the immediate risk of injury.

"Feeling that you cannot negotiate the outside world causes psychological distress.

"It also deters people from even going out, feeling they are unable to cross roads safely."

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