Aging boomers: Forget the car, get on a bike
There are alternatives to driving that can work just about anywhere.
One of the problems we face as aging baby boomers is that most of us live in the kinds of places where we don’t have many transportation alternatives to driving. And while many people can drive safely well into old age, others cannot. Reaction times slow significantly. According to one study, “… it takes a 60-year-old driver 9 seconds to recover from undergoing a road glare, whereas this only takes 2 seconds for someone who is 30. Reaction times are also 22 times slower for someone who is 65, compared to a 30-year-old.”
For many, losing a driver’s license is a significant negative milestone. One expert told CBC News: “It’s been demonstrated and said many times, that receiving the news that you will be losing your driver’s license has the same weight as being diagnosed with cancer.”
The problem is, there are few alternatives. Even in cities where there are relatively good para-transit systems, it’s a seriously time-consuming endeavor, and cities are cutting back on eligibility because it costs so much money. When she was well into her 90s, my mom had to prove she was actually incapable of walking any distance to be eligible. But she could also get pushed in her wheelchair to a number of restaurants and stores since she lived in the city. People who live in suburbs have it far worse than she did; they can become trapped.