Potential measures to make walking on the streets safer and easier are a right priority for the next Government, according to 62 per cent of people aged 65 and over. These are the results of a YouGov poll commissioned by Living Streets and published today (27 January 2015).
Although the majority (82 per cent) say they enjoy getting fresh air when walking outside in the UK, 60 per cent feel angry and frustrated by speeding vehicles in built-up areas. The same number (60%) felt angry and frustrated by the risk of tripping and falling on poorly maintained pavements and 57 per cent by obstructions on the pavement such as parked cars. Shockingly, of those who have never been hit by a vehicle when crossing a road in the UK in the last 5 years, half feel there is a medium or high risk of this happening.
An Active Travel Bill could introduce measures to make walking safer and easier for more vulnerable pedestrians, says the national charity, but older people need to make politicians realise it’s important.
Eighty-year-old Shelia Blaker walks everyday with her dog Jack in her local neighbourhood in Doncaster. She is writing to her local MP, Labour Party leader Ed Milliband. Shelia says:
‘Jack and I enjoy getting out and seeing friends and neighbours, but we are limited to where we can walk because we live in a triangle of busy main roads. Even on a quick walk ‘round the block’ we’re often faced with uneven pathways, potholes, muddy and obstructed footpaths where cars park on the grass verges.
‘Being able to get out for a daily walk is very important to me for my health and mental wellbeing, so things like slower traffic speeds, having plenty of time to get across the road safely and clear legislation on pavement parking would improve the quality of my life. That’s why I’m asking Ed Milliband to commit to the introduction of an Active Travel Bill.’
In the run up to the General Election in May, people can use campaign resources from the Living Streets website www.livingstreets.org.uk to question their local parliamentary candidates or run their own local campaigns.
Living Streets’ Chief Executive, Joe Irvin, said:
‘Our society is getting older and if we are to stay healthy, active and independent in our later years, we need to be able to get around our local neighbourhoods safely. Our supporters tell us how important these issues are to them and this poll bears this out. If parliamentary candidates are serious about responding to the ‘grey vote’ then they’ll support our call for an Active Travel Bill.’