Stephen Kerr MP spoke with the charity Guide Dogs about the challenges that blind and partially sighted people face when walking the streets, including pavement parking, street clutter and shared spaces.
The charity, that started in 1934, is running its ‘Streets Ahead’ campaign to bring about improvements to our streets and make them as accessible to blind and partially sighted people as possible. There are 360,000 people in the UK registered blind or partially sighted and over two million with some form of sight loss.
Pavements blocked by parked cars or street clutter such as wheelie bins and overhanging branches can force pedestrians to walk into the road, putting them in danger of oncoming traffic. Shared space streets, where vital safety features such as kerbs and controlled crossings are removed, can also be dangerous and disorientating for people with sight loss.
To illustrate these risks, Guide Dogs asked the MP for Stirling to take a trip down memory lane and play their ‘Navigation Game’ – a take on the classic final challenge of the Generation Game – memorising the hazards that a guide dog owner might encounter on a typical journey.
Guide Dogs are calling for action on the most common dangers for people with sight loss, including a new law limiting pavement parking, action on street clutter and a complete review of shared space schemes.
Stephen Kerr MP for Stirling said :-
Taking the memory challenge was very revealing. IT was so hard to remember where there were things blocking my path and that’s ones that don’t move! Even with the help of these fantastic dogs it must be incredibly difficult for those affected by sight loss to navigate safely our increasingly cluttered streets. I fully support this campaign. We should not need a law to stop people parking on pavements but it seems far too many people don’t think about the consequences of doing so.