Plea to Falkirk Council from RNIB over cycle lanes

Sight loss charity RNIB Scotland is urging local authorities including Falkirk Council to ensure that new plans to create temporary cycle-lanes do not endanger blind and partially sighted people.

By Kirsty Paterson
Thursday, 4th June 2020, 12:30 pm

Last month, cabinet secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity Michael Matheson invited Scottish councils to take advantage of traffic-free streets to introduce additional cycle lanes or expand existing ones.

He has since said that he will treble the £10 million originally put forward under his ‘Spaces for People’ initiative.

Falkirk Council says it is looking at options for creating new cycle lanes but has no firm plans yet.

Councils can apply for funding to widen cycle paths

The Falkirk MSP 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”.

And RNIB Scotland also fears this could make things even worse for disabled people.

“New cycle lanes must be created with full regard to pedestrians with sight loss or other mobility issues,” said director James Adams.

“We need cycle lanes that are safe for everyone. Maintaining kerbs would help ensure someone with sight loss doesn’t inadvertently stray from the pavement onto a cycle lane and controlled crossings would allow them to safely access bus-stops or cross the road.

The charity is 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.

Over the past few years RNIB Scotland has pressed councils to make streets more accessible for residents and visitors with sight loss.

A Falkirk Council spokesman said: “We are looking at a number of potential options on this, exploring both existing active travel projects that have been prepared but not necessarily implemented, and also temporary opportunities that could be explored.

“However, any options under consideration would be subject to a safety audit to ensure that they will not present a safety risk to any users, pedestrians, cyclists, vehicle users alike.”

The charity is promoting its Coronavirus courtesy code www.rnib.org.uk/scotland/campaigning-rnib-scotland/coronavirus-courtesy-code to encourage better understanding of the needs of pedestrians with disabilities.

The RNIB helpline is available to help blind and partially sighted people and their families and carers on 0303 123 9999.

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