Hawaii's roads are deadliest in the nation for senior pedestrians

Hawaii's roads are deadliest in the nation for senior pedestrians
Published: Jan. 10, 2017 at 6:18 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 11, 2017 at 1:02 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii roads are the riskiest in the nation to pedestrians 65 and over, a new report concludes.

The report released Tuesday from the National Complete Streets Coalition found that 42.2 percent of pedestrian deaths in Hawaii from 2005 to 2014 were seniors.

By comparison, 15 percent of Hawaii's population is 65 or older.

The report said a pedestrian older than 65 in Hawaii is four times more likely to die walking on Hawaii roads than a younger walker.

"For most seniors, its a challenge to cross the street. At 65 and older, 70, 80 years old, you can't look left and right. The first thing you want to do is look down because you're a afraid of falling," said Lance Rae with Walk Wise Hawaii.

"Seniors also tend to rush when they're crossing the street because they see that countdown signal come down and it's going 10, nine, eight and they think they have to rush to across the street. What happens is they rush and sometimes they fall and cannot be seen by a driver," Rae added.

Meanwhile, Hawaii ranked 26th in the nation for the overall risk to pedestrians. From 2005 to 2014, 251 pedestrians were killed on Hawaii roads.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, said the report underscores the need for more pedestrian safety improvements in the islands and nationally.

"Too many people in Hawaii, particularly seniors, are being killed or injured every year just walking along our streets," said Schatz, who's a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development,

"These deaths are preventable. While we have made some progress recently, this new report is alarming and underscores why we need to do more to make our streets safer not just for drivers, but for seniors, children, and families who choose to walk or bike."

Barbara Kim Stanton, State Director of AARP Hawaii said they were appalled to find out Hawaii ranks last in being safe for pedestrians over the age of 65.

"Our kupuna really shouldn't have to cross their fingers every time they cross the road and hope that they will make it to the other side," Stanton said.

"We had an AARP survey and 50-percent of those surveys, over the age of 50, said they didn't think it was safe to cross the main streets in their own neighborhoods," said Stanton.

For an interactive map of pedestrian fatalities by community, click here.

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