A+ | Reset | A-
Safe Mobility for Life Coalition Icon

Road User


Older drivers are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population. Not only will there be more drivers, but these drivers will also drive more miles per year than previous generations, and will drive at older ages. Older drivers currently make up 10 percent of all drivers. By the year 2020, one of four Florida residents will be over age 64, and half of them will be 75 or older.

Studies suggest that many older adults in the U.S. will outlive their ability to drive. Pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists share the road with drivers and this site will provide links to resources to make these driving alternatives safer for all road users.

Read more about Florida's aging population:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention "Older Adult Drivers: Fact Sheet".

Florida Department of Elder Affairs State of Aging in Florida Report.pdf

The U.S. Census Bureau has released a report, "The Next Four Decades, The Older Population in the United States: 2010 to 2050"pdf that contains estimates and projections for the 65 year and older population.

The National Academies' Transportation Research Board's Committee on Safe Mobility for Older Persons is an an active group that meets annually to address relevant and pressing issues regarding safe mobility and older adults through research dissemination, action groups, and additional conferences or workshops.
Visit their website to find more information or to view their Newsletter. pdf

Click here to go to top of page

Bicyclists and Pedestrians

Senior bicyclistsThis section contains information and resources on how to keep you safe and mobile while cycling and walking.

Older adults are the most vulnerable bicyclists and pedestrians. Nationally, adults over 65 make up 10 percent of walking trips, yet comprise 19 percent of pedestrian fatalities and make up 6 percent of bicycling trips, yet account for 10 percent of bicyclist fatalities.

According to the Alliance for Biking and Walking's "Bicycling & Walking in the United States: 2012 Benchmarking Report", Florida ranks 42nd in walking and bicycling levels and highest in bicycle and pedestrian fatalities. The report also discusses that where bicycling and walking levels are higher, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes levels are lower. Higher levels of bicycling and walking also coincide with increased bicycle and pedestrian safety and higher levels of physical activity. Increasing bicycling and walking can help solve many serious problems facing our nation.

AARP and Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) partnered to develop the non-technical Pedestrian Safety and Mobility Audit Guide as a tool to be used before volunteer auditors go out into the community. This guide also features completed pedestrian audit locations.

Florida's Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety Resource Center promotes safe pedestrian and bicycling activities for citizens and visitors, young and old, by providing educational materials and information to advocate groups in the state. This Center is funded by the FDOT's Safety Office and is housed at the University of Florida Technology Transfer (T2) Center.

To help educate, the FDOT has developed tip cards to help safely navigate Countdown Pedestrian Signals. pdf

FDOT has established a statewide initiative on bicycle and pedestrian mobility. The Bicycle and Pedestrian Partnership Council will make policy recommendations to FDOT and transportation partners throughout Florida on the state’s walking, bicycling and trail facilities. Their mission is to assemble the many different partners needed to make statewide improvements in safety and facilities integration. The Council will include representatives from multiple state agencies, local governments and external stakeholders, including walkers, bicyclists and trail users. They will make recommendations on design, planning, safety and other programs involving bicycle and pedestrian issues.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) website: Mature Adults: Be Healthy, Walk Safely is designed to help you maintain your safety while walking - whether you are walking for exercise or to run errands.

Through funding from the NHTSA, the Highway Safety Research Center at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill has developed The Pedestrian Safety Workshop: A Focus on Older Adults.

User-friendly downloadable instructor guides and videos about each module are available.

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) provides safety information as well as tools to help you determine how safe your neighborhood is for walking, and offers opportunities to get involved with the promotion of walkable communities.

Mobility Means Independence

For older adults now and in the future, driving represents the ability to maintain connections, contribute to the community, and participate in meaningful activities. Studies suggest that many older adults in the U.S. will outlive their ability to drive. Cessation of driving does not have to mean loss of independence!  Information on transportation alternatives can be found on our Find a Ride page.

Motorcyclists

Florida’s warm climate permits year-round motorcycling, which places Florida’s motorcyclists more at risk than those in many other states. In an effort to comprehensively address motorcycle safety in Florida, the Florida Motorcycle Safety Coalition was formed under the direction of the FDOT State Safety Office. The Coalition has developed a website, "Ride Smart Florida" that is a complete resource for motorcycle riders, trainers, sponsors, local governments, law enforcement agencies, and emergency services.

As a driver you can learn some tips on how to safely share the road with motorcyclists on the Ride Smart Florida website.

Access Florida's crashes including motorcycle incidents factsheet.

Proper understanding of safety practices for motorcycles is essential for all. A motorcyclist should attend a rider training course in order to learn how to safely operate his/her vehicle and to obtain the required license to operate a motorcycle in Florida. Other drivers should allow a motorcycle a full lane width and signal your intentions, to avoid a motorcycle being in your blind spot. Allow a longer following distance from a motorcycle than with other vehicles. Motorcycle drivers should follow the rules of the road, be alert to other drivers and wear protective gear.

More motorcycle safety information can be found at these links:

Motorcycle Safety Foundation's "Seasoned Rider" Curricula focuses on older motorcyclists and how we can assist them in motoring safely.


National Statistics on Mature Drivers

In 2010, 5,484 people aged 65 and older were killed and 189,000 were injured in traffic crashes across the United States. These older individuals made up 17 percent of all traffic fatalities and 8 percent of all people injured in traffic crashes during the year. Compared to 2009, fatalities among people aged 65 and older increased by 3 percent. Among people injured in this age group, there was a slight (1%) increase from 2009. View NHTSA's 2010 Traffic Safety Facts for the Older Population.

More NHTSA older driver information is available. This site includes a link to their Older Driver Program Five-Year Strategic Plan which the Safe Mobility for Life Coalition used as a resource when we developed Florida's statewide Aging Road User Strategic Plan.


Resources

Florida Association of Area Agencies on Aging includes information on the eleven Aging Resource Centers (ARC) which offer a wide range of services designed to address the needs of seniors in their coverage area. A listing of the ARC's is available on the Florida Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) website which oversees spending of Federal and state monies.


Safe and Mobile

Safe driving is about an individual's functional ability to perform the complicated task of driving. It is not about age.

Age alone is not a valid predictor of driving ability, but it may be an indicator of possible risk factors.

The National Center on Senior Transportation (NCST) staff, with the assistance from National Steering Committee member Fran Carlin-Rogers, has produced two new fact sheets on older driver safety. The first, "Older Driver Safety and Transition for the Mature Driver", is directed to the mature driver and offers tips and advice on how to continue driving safely longer. It includes a self-assessment, information on driver refresher courses, an explanation of the CarFit program (which evaluates whether a driver needs any alterations to seats, controls or auto safety features to safely drive) and mobility planning.

The second fact sheet, "Older Driver Safety and Transition for the Aging Network", serves as a companion piece and speaks to the aging network staff person, offering information and training about older driver safety and transitions useful to professionals and community agencies.

AARP recently released the How the Travel Patterns of Older Adults Are Changing: Highlights from the 2009 National Household Travel Survey.

American Society on Aging has an article in the July/August Aging in Today publication, titled "Can We Just Keep Rolling, Without Our Cars" .

There is more information on our Driving Skills page for age-related issues affecting driving, and some things older drivers can do to stay mobile longer on our Driver Wellness page..
Click here to go to top of page