We have the Royal National College here, therefore a higher proportion of visually impaired people so you would think that people would have a better sense of awareness, but it would seem not.
My partner is registered blind; he has a guide dog and uses a cane when not working the dog. Here are some of his experiences over the last two weeks;
• Parking and blocking the entire pavement by a parent on the school run. This resulted in his guide dog diverting into the busy road to circumnavigate the vehicle.
• A small aggressive dog (which could easily have been picked up or moved out of striking distance) attacking my partner’s guide dog whilst walking through a subway.
• A mobility scooter user shouting “mind out” at my partner and his dog and proceeding to almost mow them down.
• Too many people to count who are either texting or not looking where they are going and bumping into us whilst I am guiding my partner through the city centre.
I wish the oh-so-busy people of Hereford would show some consideration to our visually impaired residents and visitors.
I’d like to offer some suggestions for sighted people to assist visually impaired people and those guiding them;
• Be aware of and considerate to others around you.
• Take notice of a cane, it means the person has a visual impairment and may not know you are coming towards them.
• Don’t walk and text at the same time, stand still or sit on a bench.
• If you see someone being guided, make it easier by moving aside and allowing a two person width.
• Don’t park on pavements.
• Do not distract a guide dog who is working (when they have their harness on) by talking to them or petting them.
• Ensure dogs are under control and not able to distract or attack a working dog.
• If stopping for a chat, consider where you are – are you blocking the way for others?
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