Older adults are the fastest growing age group in the U.S. population. Today's older adults are not only living longer, they are driving longer and for more miles. Florida leads the nation with 20 percent of its population aged 65 or older and is projected to grow to 1 in 4 drivers by 2030.
Those behind the wheel are not the only road users we are talking about. People walking, biking and riding motorcycles are also sharing our roadways. This page offers resources that can help all aging road users remain safe.
The Roadway Safety Foundation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) have created a Clearinghouse for Older Road User Safety (ChORUS). ChORUS serves as a centralized, user-friendly, and dynamic source of information pertaining to highway safety for aging drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists. Built as a comprehensive resource, like SafeMobilityFL.com, it covers all three major components of highway safety: safe roadways, safe road users, and safe vehicles on a national level.
Older adults are considered the most vulnerable bicyclists. Nationally, adults over 65 make up 6% of bicycling trips, yet account for 10% of bicyclist fatalities.
According to the Bicycling & Walking in the United States: 2018 Benchmarking Report written by the League of American Bicyclists, Florida ranks 41st in number of commuters who bike or walk to work, but has the highest number of bicycle and pedestrian fatalities. The report also discusses that where bicycling and walking in more common, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes numbers are lower. Areas with more bicycling and walking also coincide with increased bicycle and pedestrian safety and higher levels of physical activity. An increase in bicycling and walking can help solve many serious problems facing our nation.
Bicycling not only helps you live a more active lifestyle but also keeps you mobile and independent beyond the driver's seat. Purchase baskets and saddlebags to safely carry items on your bike. Then, you can ride to places like the pharmacy or convenience store for short trips. Many buses and trains allow you to bring your bike on board, so consider biking to your nearest transit stop as a way to travel farther than your bike can take you.
For safety tips, guidance on choosing a bicycle, and other information on bicycling, get your copy of the brochure Bicycling: Tips on How to Use Transportation Options in Florida, visit our Resource Center page.
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.
Older adults are the most vulnerable pedestrians.
Nationally, adults over 65
make up 10% of walking trips, yet account for 19% of pedestrian fatalities.
Alert Today Florida is the campaign brand of FDOT's pedestrian and bicycle safety program. The goal of this program is to eliminate traffic crashes that result in serious or fatal injuries to pedestrians and bicyclists. Please visit AlertTodayFlorida.com for valuable resources such as:
- High Visibility Enforcement Efforts
- Complete Streets
- How to Navigate a Roundabout
- Bicycle and Pedestrian Signs, Signals, and Pavement Markings
- Florida Traffic Laws
- And much more!
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.
NHTSA conducted research examining the safety and mobility of older adults. The objective of this project was to identify appropriate countermeasures that will reduce older pedestrians' exposure to injuries and fatal crashes. This involved exploring countermeasures within the area of transportation as well as in other fields such as public health and education with the intention of identifying strategies that can be implemented to increase older pedestrian safety. The final report Identifying Countermeasure Strategies to Increase Safety of Older Pedestrians was published in July 2013 (DOT HS 811 798).
The 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.
Remember to always be alert in parking lots, watch for vehicles turning in and backing out, and use crosswalks when available. Read more in the Parking Lot Safety Tip Cards, available in English and Spanish, available at AlertTodayFlorida.com.
Florida's warm climate permits year-round motorcycling, which places Florida's motorcyclists more at risk than those in many other states.
Ride Smart Florida is a complete resource for motorcycle riders, trainers, sponsors, local governments, law enforcement agencies, and emergency services. Find out the three things every motorcyclist should do by downloading the tip card to the right, or order your copy from their website.
Motorist actions can impact the safety of motorcyclists greatly! A large portion of motorcycle crashes involve poor speed and spatial judgment of other drivers, and poor motorcyclist conspicuity. Read more about sharing the road on Ride Smart Florida's Motorist Responsibility page.
It is important for all motorcyclists to properly understand the safety practices for motorcycles. This includes attending 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. Motorcyclists should follow the rules of the road, be alert to other drivers, and wear protective gear. Drivers should allow a motorcycle a full lane width and signal your intentions, to avoid a motorcycle being in your blind spot. Drivers should also allow a longer following distance from a motorcycle than with other vehicles.
More motorcycle safety information can be found at these links:
- ABATE of Florida Inc. Motorcycle Safety Awareness Program (MSAP)
- FLHSMV Florida Rider Training Program (FRTP)
- NHTSA Motorcycle Safety, Skills, and Licensing
- The Seasoned Rider Curricula by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation focuses on older motorcyclists and safe riding
Golf carts can provide you with transportation to community activities and services including recreation, healthcare, education, and shopping. Some people use them to get around their golf-friendly communities as an alternative to driving. However, to safely use, it is important to understand the rules for operating golf carts here in Florida. Section 316.212 of the Florida Statutes states that golf carts can only be operated on city or county roads designated by the local government for their use based on specific criteria:
- Posted speed limit must be 30 MPH or less
- Cannot be used on sidewalks unless approved by the local government
- Speeds do not exceed 15 MPH
- Never allowed on bike paths
- Never permitted to cross state roads unless there is an officially designated golf cart crossing.
- Can only be used during daylight hours unless approved by the local government.
- Must be properly equipped with headlights and other required equipment
Your golf cart must also be properly prepared to safely operate on roads designated for golf cart use, by having:
- Properly operating brakes
- Warning devices on both the front and back made of red reflective material
- Rearview mirror
- Properly operating steering wheel
- Properly inflated tires with good tread
Learn more on how to safely operate your golf cart in Florida, by reading the Safe Mobility for Life Coalition's Golf Carts: Tips on How to Use Transportation Options in Florida brochure. Visit the Resource Center to download or order the brochure.
Low speed vehicles are similar to golf carts but have top speeds that are greater than 20 miles per hour but do not exceed 25 miles per hour. Section 316.2122M of the Florida Statutes states that low speed vehicles may be operated on designated roadways with posted speed limits of 35 miles per hour or less. In addition, a driver’s license, title and registration, vehicle identification number, and insurance are required. Low speed vehicles must also be properly equipped with:
- Brake lights
- Turn signals
- Tail lamps and reflectors
- Parking brakes
- Rearview mirrors
- Safety belts
For a comparison of golf carts and low speed vehicle requirements, read the Safe Mobility for Life Coalition's Golf Carts: Tips on How to Use Transportation Options in Florida brochure. Visit the Resource Center to download or order the brochure.