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Pedestrians - The Largest Group Of Road Users

Media Release From The Association Of Blind Citizens Of New Zealand

Monday 15 July 2002

Pedestrian issues need urgent attention. This is the view of the Association of Blind Citizens, the largest advocacy organisation of disabled people in the country.

"Pedestrians represent the largest group of road users," says Association President Vaughan Dodd. The number of accidents to pedestrians is likely to increase, given that pedestrians are the largest group of road users who contend with an increasing volume of vehicle traffic. Vaughan Dodd says, “the Land Transport Safety Authority and local Governments often fail to include safe pedestrian access into street design."

Compliance with the published Guidelines for Installing Pedestrian Facilities for People with Visual Impairment, (RS14.) and Pedestrian Standards developed by Standards New Zealand is necessary.

There are simple and effective mechanisms, which enhance the safety of blind pedestrians, and these also benefit the entire population who travel the streets on foot. "The Association supports the use of audible and tactile street crossing signals," Mr Dodd said. Mr Dodd explained that these indicate to blind and deaf people by way of a buzzer or whistle, in combination with a protruding pin on the light pole, that the lights are red and that there is an expectation of a safe crossing. The usefulness of these signals is enhanced by consistent placement of the light pole.

In February 1995 the Association petitioned Parliament for legislation requiring these signalling systems to be installed on new and upgraded crossings throughout New Zealand.

"We will continue to lobby Government for this much needed piece of pedestrian safety legislation," Mr Dodd said. Other issues include adherence to by-laws concerning placement of billboards and café furniture, condition of pavements and the illegal parking of vehicles on footpaths. "Our 16 Branches are locally based organisations, which can be contacted for advice relevant to local community pedestrian issues," Mr Dodd said.

"We are actively seeking to work with the Assembly of People with Disabilities, Standards New Zealand, Land Transport Safety Authority and the Local Government Association to see standards implemented and enforced," Mr Dodd said.
"Although the Association's mandate is specifically to advocate for improved services to blind people, pedestrian safety affects everyone. Footpaths are for all pedestrians,” he concluded.


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