BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: Wales  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Tuesday, 27 August, 2002, 16:36 GMT 17:36 UK
Hazards keep blind people homebound
Many blind people stay at home rather than travel alone
The RNIB is calling for improved travel facilities for the blind
Blind and partially sighted people in Wales face such difficulties in travelling alone that six out of 10 older visually impaired people never go out on their own.

A report by the Royal National Institute for the Blind Cymru has blamed ignorance on the part of travel companies and the public for compounding difficulties faced by visually impaired travellers.

A blind woman with her carer
Elderly blind people find solo travel difficult
The study called Travellers Tales is calling for action to improve the safety of visually impaired travellers whether they are on foot or in a vehicle.

The charity said it fears somebody could suffer a serious accident if more is not done to improve the situation.

According to their research, the part of a journey people with sight problems fear the most is walking along the pavement because of hazards along the way.

Wheelie bins, rubbish bags and untrimmed hedges can cause major difficulties for the blind and partially sighted.

Stephen Green, who is visually impaired, is a regular traveller on buses and trains in and around his home town of Pontypridd in south Wales.


Shop signs, people's rubbish, untrimmed hedgerows and broken or uneven pavements make my life much harder than it need be

Stephen Green
He said: "A lack of information means it's difficult to know where to catch my bus or train, what time it is supposed to arrive, or when I've arrived at my stop.

"However, what really frustrates me is when thoughtless people park their cars at bus stops, meaning I have to struggle into the road in order to get my bus.

"Walking is a major hazard too. Shop signs, people's rubbish, untrimmed hedgerows and broken or uneven pavements make my life much harder than it need be.

"I just wish people would have more consideration."

'Change law' call

At present, a loophole in the Disability Discrimination Act prevents people from taking action for discrimination when they are travelling on a bus or train.

The RNIB Cymru is calling on the government to alter the legislation.

RNIB Cymru's policy officer Gavin Cox said: "People contact RNIB to express their concerns when they leave their homes

RNIB policy officer Gavin Cox
RNIB officer Gavin Cox wants disability laws changed
"We're talking about smple things like overgrown hedgerows, litter left in the street, cracked paving stones and illegally parked cars.

"When they have to use public transport, we're finding that access is not available whether travelling by bus or train.

"We need more public consideration, but we need the government to take action.

"The Disability Discrimination Act does not cover you once you set foot on a bus.

"We're calling on the government to cut this loophole so people are no longer discriminated against when they travel on public transport."

See also:

25 Aug 02 | Entertainment
10 Jul 02 | Health
13 Jun 02 | Health
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Wales stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Wales stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes