We have seen changes made to street layouts, and the roll-out of rental e-scooter schemes. largely to encourage cycling so that people don’t have to use public transport.
We want to ensure that any changes to our streets allow blind and partially sighted people and those with other disabilities to still safely get around and to cross the roads using pedestrian crossing facilities. You an find out more about our work to make our streets inclusive for everyone below.
We also want to ensure that e-scooter schemes do not negatively impact on blind or partially sighted pedestrians. You can read our advice to local authorities and e-scooter operators below, along with ways you can get involved and support our campaigns to make our streets safe for everyone.
It is also important that public transport is safe and accessible, as blind or partially sighted people are more likely to rely on it to get to work, health appointments, the shops, or just to meet friends. We are currently urging the Department of Transport and Network Rail to prioritise the installation of tactile paving along station platforms were it is missing, as they are a crucial safety feature for passengers with sight loss. Find out how you can help below.
Colourful crossings – a growing trend
Colourful crossings, which replace traditional black and white road markings with multicoloured patterns and shapes, are a growing trend, often introduced to celebrate an event, a community or to encourage tourism.
We want to be clear, we fully support the representation of all communities across the UK on our streets as long as new street designs are accessible to everyone.
Pedestrian crossings are essential to the safety of all pedestrians, particularly people with sight loss who often struggle to detect moving vehicles and judge gaps in traffic.
For blind and visually impaired people, the consistency and predictability of signage is fundamental to being able to navigate safely and independently. The majority of visually impaired people have some sight. Designs and colours used on pedestrian crossings which are not consistent with traditional designs could cause confusion and risk safety. The use of black and white in traditional pedestrian crossings offer high contrast which is essential for people with low vision to detect them and stay on course when crossing roads. We have also heard accounts from visually impaired people with light sensitivity who find the artwork painful to look at and from guide dog users who reported that the crossings confuse their dogs.
We want all councils considering installing pedestrian crossings in any design or colour to conduct thorough Equality Impact Assessments, including blind and partially sighted people. No installation should start before all safety concerns have been fully addressed.
To find out more about our concerns, please read our joint letter to the Mayor of London.
Making our streets inclusive
We all need to use our streets, whether that’s getting to work, going to the shops, taking care of our health or seeing friends and family. But for blind and partially sighted people, lots of things make it harder to get around, from bins or bikes left on the pavement, to bad design making it difficult to cross the road safely.
We can all play our part to make our streets more accessible and inclusive so everyone can use our streets independently.
We’re campaigning to make railway stations safe for blind and partially sighted people
Blind and partially sighted people face increased risk at rail stations all over the country. Last year, a partially sighted man was struck and killed by a train after falling onto the track from a platform with no tactile surface, likely because he wasn’t aware he was close to the edge. This is unacceptable, and it is not an isolated incident.
Read about our campaign which is urging Network Rail and the Department of Transport to make railway stations safe for blind and partially sighted people as quickly as possible.
Advice for Local Authorities and e-scooter operators participating in rental e-scooter trials.
As rental e-scooter trials get underway, it is essential that these schemes do not undermine the confidence and independence of blind and partially sighted pedestrians.
Now's our chance to share our concerns about e-scooter rental schemes
Rental e-scooter schemes are underway in many parts of England. The government’s official evaluation of the rental schemes is being carried out right now. This means it’s a critical time for you to share your experiences.
We really need the voices of blind or partially sighted pedestrians to be heard before decisions are made on future rules guiding the use of e-scooters. Your feedback will be anonymous but we will share it with the Department for Transport.