Emily Darlington, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Milton Keynes North, and Cllr Margaret Burke joined with Guide Dogs to experience the perils of pavements in Milton Keynes by taking a guided blind walk.
Guide Dogs are highlighting the problems with street clutter with over 5,000 people in Milton Keynes with living with sight loss.
Often people are forced out into the road and into oncoming traffic, which is very dangerous when you cannot see cars coming. Guide Dogs is urging drivers to consider vulnerable pedestrians when parking their cars and would like to see Councils adopting the powers granted to them by the Department for Transport (DfT) to make pavements safer for people with sight loss to navigate.
65% of blind and partially sighted people have either tripped on broken or cracked pavements or injured themselves on street clutter. 40% of blind and partially sighted people feel reluctant to go out due to fear of injury. Guide Dogs’ Streets Ahead survey 2012.
Cllr Margaret Burke said: “Being able to get an insight into the experience of partially sighted people on our pavements has strengthened my resolve to continue campaigning on getting cars to stop blocking the pavements and pressuring the Council to fix our roads and broken paving stones.”
Emily Darlington, said: “Cars parked on the pavement has always been a complaint of mine as I often have my daughter in a push chair but it is even more terrifying if you are forced onto the road without being able to see. I am happy to support the Guide Dogs’ Streets Ahead campaign and I hope this campaign will get people to thinking twice.”
Eddie Rimmer, a Bradville resident and Guide Dogs volunteer said “I was really encouraged by Emily and Margaret’s willingness to try the experience. I hope that it will galvanize them into supporting the campaign now that they have experienced a bit of our lives.”
Joel Young, Guide Dogs Community Engagement Officer for Milton Keynes says: “It was great to meet Cllr Margaret Burke and Emily Darlington to provide them with a sight loss experience so they can see first-hand the difficulties street clutter causes people that are blind or partially sighted.””
“Unnecessary, inconsistently placed Street clutter and cars that park on pavements cause real problems not just for people with sight loss but also for people that use wheelchairs and mobility scooters to get around as well as parents with pushchairs.”
The Guide Dogs Campaign encourages everyone to do simple things.
1. Cut back your overgrown hedges and low-hanging branches
2. Don’t park your car on the pavement
3. Put away your wheelie bin
4. Pick up an bin any loose rubbish and clear up any broken glass you find
5. Tell your councillor about badly maintained pavements