City Street
02 Dec

Disabled Pedestrians Street Safety Guidelines


Pedestrians with disabilities are particularly at risk when it comes to street safety. As the largest minority group in the United States at 20 percent of the population, people with disabilities are still under-served—especially when it comes to pedestrian safety.

While the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) takes a stab at providing guidelines for protections for individuals with impairments, it’s still not enough. Curb ramps and pedestrian crossings are helpful, but pedestrians with disabilities are still 33 percent more likely to be killed in a road accident than the general population.

This sobering fact only highlights the need for better street safety guidelines for individuals with disabilities.

Street Safety Guidelines for Disabled Pedestrians

For individuals with impairments, street safety is important and requires some extra detail on top of other guidelines. Check out the following.

Recognize Street Boundaries

The boundary between sidewalk, street, and crosswalk can be assessed through different senses than just eyesight. In some situations, wind and sound will play a role, revealing an upcoming crosswalk or a new block. A sloping sidewalk with detectable dome tiles underfoot often signifies a crosswalk. Pedestrians with low vision also recognize poles as a telltale sign of a crosswalk. And through sound cues pedestrians may be able to identify oncoming cars and traffic.

Be Aware of Railroad Crossings

Railroad crossings are extremely dangerous, especially when dealing with a sight, hearing, or mobility impairment. Depending on ability, it’s possible to listen for, look for, or feel an oncoming train. Pay attention to these cues, and never linger on railroad tracks.

Plan the Route

When traveling between two destinations via walking or a mobility device, choose the route beforehand. Opt for streets that have a well-maintained sidewalk and low car traffic. You’ll want to be sure that the sidewalk will easily accommodate your needs.

Obey Crosswalk Signs

Most crosswalks and intersections come fully equipped with Walk/Don’t Walk indicators. Whether a pedestrian walks or uses a mobility device such as a wheelchair, they can increase their road safety by obeying the crosswalk signs that indicate whether to walk or not.

Use Routes with Audible Pedestrian Signals (APS)

Some crosswalks are equipped with APS, which is a helpful tool for individuals with vision impairments. These Audible Pedestrian Signals communicate through a variety of audible messages, tactile information, and vibrotactile data. This allows individuals who are blind or deaf to understand when it is safe to cross a street.

Know How to Cross Safely

Individuals with different impairments have different guidelines for assessing the safety of crossing a street. For someone with low vision, hearing plays a large role in determining safety from recognizing the location of vehicles based on their sound. Meanwhile, someone without hearing must use their sight to assess whether or not they are safe to cross from all sides.

Request Assistance for Crossing

In some situations, it might be best to ask for help to cross a street. Depending on ability, a pedestrian with a disability may be able to vocalize, use body language, or a card to communicate their need for crossing assistance. Be sure to specify which street you want to cross so that you are helped in the direction that you desire to go.

Street safety for pedestrians with disabilities requires more attention to specific types of details such as sound and other sensory information since some cannot rely heavily on their sight or hearing. As with every pedestrian, each must measure the risk of crossing and make the best decision possible for their own crossing. However, these street safety tips can reduce risk.

At StrongGo, providing a safe and accessible world is one of our highest values. We accomplish this one TekWay ADA Dome Tile at a time, helping pedestrians to recognize crosswalks, intersections, and public transportation stops. Speak with one of our industry experts at csd@stronggo.com today to determine the best dome tile application for your project.

Sources:
https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/5/11/e008396
https://www.citylab.com/equity/2015/11/wheelchair-users-are-more-likely-to-be-killed-in-traffic-than-other-pedestrians/416667/
https://www.onlineloancalculator.org/resources/disabled-pedestrians.php
http://www.pedbikesafe.org/pedsafe/resources_guidelines_sidwalkswalkways.cfm
http://www.sauerburger.org/dona/cues.html