A campaigner is highlighting the problems caused by street obstacles in Clitheroe as a national sight loss charity warns of risk of injury and loss of confidence.
New research by the Royal National Institute of Blind People 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 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 they had collided with an obstacle.
Clitheroe resident Mike Tupper, who has had a sight condition since birth, said: “The streets in Clitheroe are very narrow which makes navigating them a nightmare, as they are also full of obstacles like A boards and shop front signs. Not only is getting out and about a risk for me, but it also puts other people at risk as they are forced to step into the road to try and be helpful.
“It’s harder when it gets dark because I suffer from night blindness and the dangers of bumping into something is higher.”
More than two million people live with sight loss, and with someone starting to lose their sight every 15 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.
Fazilet Hadi, director of engagement at RNIB, said: “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.
“Local authorities need to take steps to make streets safe for their blind and partially sighted residents.”
RNIB is calling on local authorities to review their policies in relation to the six most common obstacles facing blind and partially sighted people, and to consult with people with sight loss to develop a “street charter” that puts a clear highway policy at the heart of their local decision making.