Safe Winter Walking

Published in The BANAR February 2021

by Don Kelly, Community Safety

According to Statistics Canada, in 2019 Blackburn had a population of 8,468 residents and that 20% of these residents were persons aged 65 and older. Another 13% of the population were between the ages of 55-64.

The Hamlet has a robust, active community, with many people outside enjoying walking the plethora of paths and trails in the Hamlet throughout the whole year. Walking is a valuable exercise. It helps us stay fit and is one of the best exercises for the heart. But, as with most good things in life, there are dangers linked to walking, especially for seniors. Health experts tell us that falls are the leading cause of injury for seniors. While most falls happen in the home, the outdoors is still a concern, especially in winter. As walkers, we must be vigilant for the hazards of snow and ice, notably in dark hours or after freezing rain. When walking in winter you may want to consider using a cane or walking stick – some of these devices have ice picks on the end to give extra balance. Another good precaution is wearing boots with non-skid soles.

This year, the BCA, in cooperation with our Councillor, Laura Dudas, is part of a city-wide project called the Winter Maintenance Quality Standards Review. A main focus of this program is on the safety of sidewalks and pathways in the city. The BCA is asking all residents, but particularly seniors, to submit their concerns to us, so that we can prepare an effective reply to the city on this project. Your concerns can be forwarded to the BCA Seniors Action Committee at

All walkers should be sure to adhere to some basic safety principles:

  • Wear bright clothing that makes you visible, especially in dark conditions.
  • Use the pathways, sidewalks and crosswalks, where available.
  • Make sure you have enough time to cross the road safely, especially if you have mobility issues.
  • When stepping off the curb, look carefully in both directions, to ensure a vehicle is not in your path.

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