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Looking for solutions? Use the 8-80 Rule

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To Make Our Roads Safe for Everyone, Consider the 8-80 Rule

When we build roads, we don’t build one road for new drivers and a separate road for experienced drivers. When creating sidewalks and bike lanes, we need to make sure that we’re building them for all people, not just for experienced cyclists and physically fit pedestrians.

Here’s how to assess whether the roads where you live or work are safe for everyone:

Step 1: Think of a child you know who is around 8 years old. This could be anyone – a son or daughter, grandchild, sister, brother, cousin, neighbor, etc.

Step 2: Think of an adult you know who is around 80 years old. This could be a parent, grandparent, friend, former co-worker, neighbor, etc.

Step 3: Ask yourself: Would you send that 8-year-old out with the 80-year-old on a walk, or a bike ride on a nearby sidewalk or bike lane? If you would, then it passes the 8-80 test, and it’s safe enough for most people to use. If not, it fails the test, and we need to work harder to make it safe and inviting for all people.

This rule may seem simple, but when we actually think about this, most of the places in our communities that have been built for walking and biking are not safe enough for people ages 8 through 80.

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