Sight loss charity RNIB Scotland has written to Orkney Islands Council asking it to ensure that new plans to create temporary cycle-lanes do not endanger blind and partially sighted people.
This week, transport secretary Michael Matheson announced he will treble the £10m originally put forward under his ‘Spaces for People’ initiative, inviting Scottish local authorities to take advantage of reduced traffic levels and introduce additional cycle-lanes or expand existing ones.
While welcoming the ‘Spaces for People’ initiative, RNIB Scotland fears this could still exacerbate problems it has been campaigning on if too hastily introduced.
James Adams, Director of RNIB Scotland said:
“New cycle lanes must be created with full regard to pedestrians with sight loss or other mobility issues.
“The problem is that blind and partially sighted people might not be able to see or hear cyclists approaching, while cyclists might simply assume a pedestrian will see them coming. Mobility aids such as white canes getting caught up in bicycle wheels is a further hazard to both.
“Mr Matheson also urged councils to engage with disability organisations so plans do not compromise the ability of people who have impaired mobility to cross roads and to use pedestrian crossing facilities.”
RNIB Scotland is promoting its Coronavirus Courtesy Code to encourage better understanding of the needs of pedestrians with disabilities. The charity is also calling for any extra space for cycle-lanes to be allocated from roads and not pavements, for raised kerbs to be maintained, and for warning signs to alert cyclists when they are approaching a crossing.
The RNIB Helpline is available to help blind and partially sighted people and their families and carers on 0303 123 9999.