There are a large number of factors that decrease how safe sidewalks are. Factors can include poor sidewalk maintenance, ice and snow, and various sidewalk obstructions. Although all of these factors are avoidable, trips and falls still happen, largely due to poor sidewalk maintenance.
Safe sidewalks can be maintained as easily as keeping sidewalks clear of snow and ice. In bad weather it’s easy to take a fall or trip. Sidewalks are a hazard when they are cracked or broken, but become even more dangerous in bad weather. Regular maintenance results in safe sidewalks for everyone. This includes salting and removing snow as well as repairing cracks and lifts.
People on rollerblades, bikes, strollers, walking, or those in wheelchairs have an increased risk for safety when travelling on sidewalks. It’s easy for someone to catch their toe or a wheel on uneven pavement and become injured. Bike paths have in some ways contributed to safe sidewalks, but present separate concerns for cyclists. Also, not all areas of sidewalks have a bike path for those on wheels.
The best practice of having safe sidewalks ends up being regular maintenance. Though the city is responsible for removing cracks and uneven areas of sidewalks, the citizen is responsible for keeping the sidewalk clear. This includes things like leaving garbage cans or recycle bins on the sidewalk, toys a child was playing with, tools from working etc. All of these things add up to create a safety risk.
Even though sidewalks are never completely safe, decreasing the number of obstructions will result in more safe sidewalks.