Regional Campaigns Officers for RNIB, Terri and Mike, are encouraging cyclists to ring their bell and slow down to avoid collisions with blind and partially sighted people.
One of the biggest challenges for blind or partially sighted people is getting around, whether it’s inaccessible road crossings or approaching cyclists.
This year, campaigners Terri and Mike will launch a local initiative to get Oxford and Cambridge students to cycle sensibly and understand how to alert a blind or partially sighted person that they are approaching and cycling past.
RNIB receive many complaints about bikes. Oxford and Cambridge in particular are bike central, so Mike and Terri joined forces. They realised after speaking to students that a clear message was needed to help them avoid collisions with blind and partially sighted people.
Terri adds: “What emerged was a very simple message, if you see me, ring your bell so I know you’re there and slow down to give me time to register you. So in other words, bell and brake, and that became the title of the campaign.”
The initiative aims to give a person with sight loss a chance to know that someone is coming along on a bike. She adds: “If people give that person a chance to react to it, make sure they’ve heard, cover your brakes, be ready to stop, then hopefully we’ll reduce the number of collisions with cyclists.”
A poster campaign is planned that will target every Oxbridge college. If successful, the aim is to roll out the campaign to other parts of the country and where there are many cyclists. She says: “Who knows, perhaps eventually every cyclist will think ‘bell and brake’ if they see a blind or partially sighted person, that’s my hope.”
This article originally appeared in the Winter 2019 edition of Connect Magazine.