Road rule changes announced today that allow cyclists of all ages to ride on footpaths will put people who are blind or vision impaired in direct danger.
With less than two per cent vision remaining, RSB Government Relations and Accessibility Coordinator, Tony Starkey, is concerned not just for his safety, but for the safety of more than 12,000 people living with vision loss in South Australia.
“More than 85 per cent of RSB clients are over the age of 65, so safety is number one when it comes to their ability to travel on footpaths.
“Many people who are blind or vision impaired use a mobility device such as a white cane or RSB Guide Dog, so not only are they reliant on feedback from their device while they’re walking, they’re also concentrating on ambient noise and responses from their other senses to ensure they stay safe.
“If someone is cycling on a footpath and collides with someone who is blind or vision impaired, that’s potentially a serious accident, not just a stumble.
“By the time someone who is blind or vision impaired recognises or hears a cyclist, it may be too late to avoid an accident,” Tony said.
Today’s announcement includes no information for pedestrians on what options they will have for compensation should a pedestrian be injured by a cyclist on a footpath, especially if the cyclist cannot be readily identified.
“It is clearly probable that should a cyclist hit a pedestrian and leave the scene of the accident, they will not be able to be identified. Working out the details of who has hit a pedestrian at the time of injury will be challenging, but if you are blind or vision impaired and can’t see the cyclist it will be nearly impossible!” Tony said.
Royal Society for the Blind
The Royal Society for the Blind (RSB) is a not-for-profit organisation providing services to South Australians who have a severe vision impairment. These services are delivered by a professional, committed and highly qualified team supported by volunteers, drawn from all age groups and walks of life.
Blindness or vision impairment can have a severe impact on a person's lifestyle. The RSB is here to assist people to overcome their vision impairment and participate independently in the community.
The quality and effectiveness of our services is assessed annually through independent client surveys. As our results show, we have continued to provide a high level of client satisfaction over a sustained period of time.
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