Korean elderly back road safety seats

Chair for older pedestrians to rest at road crossings, Namyangju, South Korea Image copyright Yonhap News TV/YouTube
Image caption The seats are installed at accident hot-spots

A city in South Korea has come to the rescue of older people who tire of waiting to cross busy roads by installing special seats for them.

The authorities in Namyangju, east of the capital Seoul, have attached the "longlife chairs" to the columns that hold up the pedestrian lights at crossings, the Segye Ilbo newspaper reports.

These allow older people to wait in relative comfort, rather than risk injury by walking out into moving traffic.

And this is a serious matter in South Korea.

Police statistics show that 1,675 died in traffic accidents in 2017, of whom about 54% were elderly.

A total of 335 of the deaths were caused while pedestrians tried to cross a busy street.

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The chairs are the brainwave of a local police officer.

"I came up with the seat by consulting residents, as I was worried about the harm caused by traffic and unauthorised road crossings," says Yoo Seok-jong, who thinks the seats will "reduce traffic accidents by about 80%".

Accident hot-spots

Seats have been installed in 10 areas that the police identified as accident hot-spots, and the city is planning more to meet public demand.

Image copyright Yonhap News TV/YouTube
Image caption Yoo Seok-jong hopes his design will go nationwide

Other cities are interested in Namyangju's seats, too.

The chairs are not just popular with the elderly, as Segye Ilbo reports they come in handy for children taking breaks and shoppers resting their heavy bags on them.

'Make way for an older person'

Yoo Seok-jong has no problem with this - "all citizens can use them freely, as long as the make way for an older person."

In fact, he told Yonhap TV News that he was preparing a second type of seat for people with other needs, from pregnant women to disabled children.

Image copyright Yonhap News TV/YouTube
Image caption The chairs can be used by young and old

Reporting by Tae-jun Kang and Martin Morgan

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