Encore Years

How to: respect the roads (and other passengers) in West Michigan

Encore Years

In the busyness of life, we’re all trying to get from point A to point B with the most ease and least disruption.  Nobody wants hassle or inconvenience or harm to occur when traveling throughout the day. We just simply and uneventfully want to arrive on time and in a good frame of mind whether by car, bus, bike or foot.

One of the most compelling stories about respecting people when we’re all trying to get from point A to point B is on public transit.  The space is shared by people of different ages, backgrounds, ethnicities, in a confined, small space.  It’s important to be mindful of giving people respect, offering up a seat to an older or disabled person, keeping voices at courteous levels and simply providing a safe place for people to co-exist.  When multigenerational people are participating in this shared experience, it can be an opportunity for just smiling and saying hello, learn from another person.  It’s about being a good neighbor on wheels.

For those who travel from point A to point B by bike, the rules of the road must be respected by both driver and cyclist.   Grand Rapids’ Driving Change http://grdrivingchange.org/ initiative is successfully educating the community on the rules of the road.  For drivers, you need to allow a 5 foot passing distance and don’t park in the bike lane.  For cyclists, it’s important to obey traffic signals and signs, and ride in the direction of traffic.  Bikes belong on the road.  For more information on bicycle/motorist safety be sure to visit http://grdrivingchange.org/

Being able to drive — and do so safely for as long as possible — is the key to being able to live independently.

The AARP Driver Safety program features online and in-person courses,  workshops and tools to help drivers of any age be more skilled and confident behind the wheel. The offerings include:

  • The AARP Smart DriverTM course enables older drivers to maintain their skills, adjust to age-related challenges, and learn about the advances in car technology and changes in driving laws.
  • CarFitSM events are held in locations nationwide to help drivers adapt to their cars — and adjust their “fit” within them — in order to reduce the risk of injury during a crash.
  • We Need to Talk is a free online seminar that helps family members assess a loved ones’ driving skills and provide tools and suggestion for how to limit or stop that person from continuing to drive. 

And finally walking is green (no carbon emissions here) and healthy.  A street that’s made safer for an older adult to cross is also safer for a child, a parent pushing a stroller, a bicyclist, a jogger. In other words, a walkable community benefits everyone.  When pedestrians are crossing the street, give them the right of way; slow down and let them cross.  Be sure when you’re turning right on a red light you check to make sure the crosswalk is clear.   Walking is an excellent mode of transportation as long as those using their feet to get around feel they’re safe and respected by motorists.

Being a livable community means ensuring it’s safe and friendly for everyone.  To learn more about making your community one where people live positively together, visit https://www.aarp.org/livable-communities/

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

About Jennifer Feuerstein

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