Hampered by obstacles

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Over two million people live with sight loss, and with someone starting to lose their sight every fifteen minutes, this number is set to rise to four million by 2050.

Instead of our streets becoming more accessible, they remain a daily obstacle course.

New research by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has highlighted the growing problem of dangerous street crossings and street obstacles; bollards, advertising boards, bins, and cars parked on pavements, which are preventing many people with sight loss from getting out and about.

Survey results published in RNIB’s ‘Who put that there’ report revealed that a third of blind and partially sighted people across the UK had injured themselves when walking around their local areas.

Overall, 95% of people said that they had collided with an obstacle.

People with sight loss should be able to walk to the shops, see friends or visit the doctor’s in the same way as everyone else.

I call on my local authority to develop a ‘street charter’ that puts a clear highway policy at the heart of their local decision making. It also needs to consult with people with sight loss to review their policies in relation to the six most common obstacles facing blind and partially sighted people.

Making these simple changes will not only help people with sight loss, but also those in wheelchairs, people with prams and anyone who experiences mobility issues.

It will also stop a lot of people saying “Who put that there”.

Mary Hewison