Safer roads for the elderly in Bukit Merah; Jurong West, Bedok, Yishun and Marine Parade next

Ramps for wheelchairs and "look" ground markings (left) are some of the elder-friendly features at pedestrian crossings in Bukit Merah. Speed limit signs (right) and rumble stripes alert motorists that they are entering a Silver Zone.
Ramps for wheelchairs and "look" ground markings (left) are some of the elder-friendly features at pedestrian crossings in Bukit Merah. Speed limit signs (right) and rumble stripes alert motorists that they are entering a Silver Zone.ST PHOTOS: MARK CHEONG
Ramps for wheelchairs and "look" ground markings (left) are some of the elder-friendly features at pedestrian crossings in Bukit Merah. Speed limit signs (right) and rumble stripes alert motorists that they are entering a Silver Zone.
Ramps for wheelchairs and "look" ground markings (left) are some of the elder-friendly features at pedestrian crossings in Bukit Merah. Speed limit signs (right) and rumble stripes alert motorists that they are entering a Silver Zone.ST PHOTOS: MARK CHEONG

Elderly residents in Bukit Merah View can now stroll around the estate with greater peace of mind, thanks to improved road safety features.

It is the first among five estates to benefit from the Land Transport Authority's Silver Zone programme, which aims to make roads safer in areas with a large population of senior citizens.

These zones will be fitted with features that encourage motorists to slow down, while reminding elderly pedestrians to be careful when crossing the road.

For instance, enlarged centre dividers ensure that seniors can cross in two stages at their own pace instead of rushing across.

The speed limit in such zones has been reduced to 40kmh where possible.

Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Transport Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim said: "Studies have shown that the probability of a pedestrian fatality in an accident where a vehicle travels at 40kmh is 50 per cent lower compared with an accident where a vehicle travels at 50kmh."

Chicanes, or gentle curves along sections of roads, and pinch points that narrow lanes have also been introduced to ensure that cars do not speed within the zone.

Retiree Lee Kit Fong, 83, said he feels "very much relaxed" crossing busier roads in Bukit Merah View now.

"Last time, I had to check both sides and cross quickly because the cars moved very fast," he said in Mandarin.

"Now I can walk slower and stop at the centre divider."

The programme will be completed in Jurong West, Bedok and Yishun in the first quarter of next year and in Marine Parade in the first quarter of 2016.

All these areas have had higher rates of accidents involving senior citizens.

lesterh@sph.com.sg