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Feeling Older?  Puleeze. “Speeding bikes and turning vehicles and sidewalk cracks, oh my!”

June 4, 2018

by Amy Epstein
 
I recently attended a Caring Collaborative “Gathering” and met up with
several TTN friends whom I hadn’t seen for a while.  Several of them reported on
incidents where they’d fallen on sidewalks.  The villain for one was a manhole cover that wasn’t flush. Another met up with a crack in the sidewalk.  As a consequence, both were dealing with dislocated shoulders and physical therapy.



Another friend slid on a wet manhole cover this winter and broke her wrist. Someone else was run down by a bicyclist and had a broken shoulder.  My dental hygienist walks with a permanent limp from having been hit by a turning taxi.  A college classmate was hit by a turning car but, luckily, came through the experience with no permanent physical consequences.  She is a bit traumatized, however, every time she has to cross a street.

Let’s look first at vehicle-related problems.  According to the “Vision Zero Year 4 Report” issued by New York City in March 2018, “approximately 4,000 New Yorkers are seriously injured and more than 250 are killed each year in traffic crashes.  Being struck by a vehicle is the leading cause of injury-related death for children under 14, and the second leading cause for seniors.”  That statistic is pretty stunning.

There are some definite Vision Zero recommendations.  This link takes you to their page for pedestrian recommendations: 
http://www1.nyc.gov/site/visionzero/your-role/walking.page
         
In summary, they want us to be visible and suggest a brightly colored umbrella or scarf.  I’d encourage a coat that’s NOT black!  Not only will it be easier to find a coat that’s not black on a coat rack after a TTN event, it will be infinitely easier for a car to see you crossing the street at night, especially on a rainy night.

They also recommend we be particularly vigilant at intersections with left-turning cars.  It so happens that both women I know who were hit, were hit by cars turning left.

Looking in all directions crossing the street, regardless of whether it’s a one way street or not, will also keep us from being mowed down by a bicyclist who’s going the wrong way and isn’t observing the rules of the road.  If I had a nickel for every cyclist who falls into that category, I’d have a lot of nickels.

Walking on city sidewalks or streets, and not tripping over a crack or obstacle in our path, or skidding over a wet metal plate, or colliding with someone’s pulled shopping cart or small dog’s leash (trust me, it’s happened) requires concentration and vigilance. We’re advised to not be focused on the ground underneath us but instead be looking a few feet ahead of us.

Good luck to us all, then, and try to be aware of our surroundings and attired in something light-colored at night. 

However, if you have an accident, always know you can email the Caring Collaborative Medical Information Exchange for a physical therapist or orthopedist recommendation.  You should also alert members of your CC Neighborhood Group of your situation.  If you’re an active member of your CC Neighborhood Group, you’ll likely have group members offering to run errands or just come for a friendly visit to keep you company during your convalescence.