Stewart Stevenson MSP recently met with the charity Guide Dogs Scotland to discuss the challenges that blind and partially sighted people face when walking the streets, including pavement parking, street clutter and shared spaces.
Pavements blocked by parked cars or street clutter such as wheelie bins and overhanging branches can force pedestrians to walk onto the road, putting them in danger of oncoming traffic.
Shared space streets, where vital safety features such as kerbs and controlled crossings are removed, can also be dangerous and disorientating for people with sight loss.
To illustrate these risks, Guide Dogs asked Mr Stevenson to take a trip down memory lane and play their ‘Navigation Game’ – a take on the classic final challenge of the Generation Game – memorising the hazards that a guide dog owner might encounter on a typical journey.
Guide Dogs are calling for action on the most common dangers for people with sight loss, including a new law limiting pavement parking to areas determined by the local council, action from local authorities on street clutter and a safety review of existing shared space schemes.
Mr Stevenson said: “I applaud the work of Guide Dogs Scotland- through their work guide dogs transform lives for individuals who are registered blind or have partially lost their sight.
“On street parking and blocked pavements can add to the complexities and challenges facing blind or partially-sighted individuals and so I was delighted to meet with Guide Dogs and discuss their new campaign.”
Niall Foley, rnanagement manager at Guide Dogs Scotland, commented: “We’re calling for action to tackle the most common hazards that affect blind and partially sighted people on their local streets.”