Shop RNIB Donate now

Inquest finds lack of tactile contributed to Cleveland Gervais’ death

The jury at Cleveland Gervais’ inquest concluded that the absence of tactile paving, or other mitigating measures, as well as delays to Cleveland’s treatment, had contributed to his death.

Cleveland, who had sight loss, tragically died after falling from a train platform that had no tactile paving, or tactile, in February 2020. The inquest into his death ended this week.

We welcome these findings and hope essential lessons will be learned so such a senseless tragedy is not repeated.

Cleveland’s death was not an isolated incident. We are aware of several similar occurrences where the lack of tactile paving may have contributed to people with sight loss falling onto railway tracks. Blind and partially sighted travellers are disproportionally at risk of falling at stations – up to 15 per cent of people falling from platforms are blind or partially sighted, despite representing just 3.3 per cent of the UK’s population.

Matt Stringer, RNIB’s CEO, said:

"Tactile paving is not just an accessibility measure, it is fundamental to the health and safety of passengers and pedestrians. There should be no train platforms without tactile paving."

Despite this, 40 per cent of mainline railway stations in Britain lack tactile paving on platforms. This is completely unacceptable.

RNIB has raised concerns about the lack of tactile on stations with both the Department for Transport and the Office of Road and Rail. For the past year we have campaigned to ensure tactile paving is now installed across the network as quickly as possible. More than 15,000 campaigners signed our petition urging action. While Network Rail has recently stated that it intends to install tactile paving on all British train platforms where it is missing, this initiative is still subject to funding and formal approval from the Department for Transport.

We strongly urge the Rail Minister Wendy Morton to confirm the necessary funding and for Network Rail to ensure tactile paving is now installed across its network as a matter of urgency.