Local MP Steve McCabe spent an afternoon with Delphy the guide dog and his handler Andy Guile from Guide Dogs to explore some of the everyday challenges facing those with loss of sight.
Steve took a blindfolded walk around Billesley with guide dog Delphy to highlight the issue of pavement parking and the difficulties it can create for people who are blind or partially sighted. As well as the obvious obstruction on the pavement this creates it can also force people to walk out into the road, which is very dangerous if they are unable to see oncoming traffic or if their return to the kerb is obstructed by a line of cars. Despite this, a recent YouGov survey found that 54% of drivers admit to parking on the pavement.
Delphy and his hander Andy are part of Guide Dog’s Birmingham Mobility Team, who work across the Midlands raising awareness and delivering support for blind and partially sighted people. The team provides an accessible mobility service that helps people of all ages live more independent lives with the help of their guide dogs.
Steve Said “walking around Billesley blindfolded really showed me how something most people take for granted like crossing the road can be a daunting and dangerous prospect for people who are blind or partially sighted. I felt completely dependent on Delphy when crossing the road, and it demonstrated to me how valuable guide dogs like Delphy can be in helping people get around independently.
“Pavement Parking can pose a real problem for people with sight loss, it can also be a potential risk for the elderly, wheelchair users and parents with pushchairs. I think a lot of people don’t fully appreciate the risk pavement parking can pose and we need to raise awareness about this issue. In a city like Birmingham where there are lots of cars on the road drivers need to make sure they park considerately and take an extra second to think about how it may affect someone who is blind or partially sighted.”