Sir Roger Gale
Member of Parliament for North Thanet (Margate, Herne Bay & The Villages)
Gale joins Guide Dogs campaign to ‘Say NO to shared streets
June 18th 2009
North Thanet’s MP calls for halt to dangerous and discriminating shared surface streets
North Thanet’s MP, Roger Gale has experienced a dangerous new street design that puts blind and partially sighted people, disabled and elderly people, and young children in danger, at an event held by Guide Dogs.
Roger tried out a mock shared surface street whilst blindfolded as part of Guide Dogs ‘Say NO to shared streets’ campaign, at the House of Commons. These streets – when the road and pavement are built at the same level with the kerb removed – force all road users to make ‘eye contact’ to establish who moves first. This obviously undermines the safety, confidence and independence of vulnerable pedestrians.
Wheelchair users have to share their space with intimidating cyclists and vehicles, and young children no longer have a kerb to safely stop, look, and listen at.
Roger Gale also learnt about the importance of safe and accessible towns and high streets for vulnerable pedestrians.
David Cowdrey, Guide Dogs Campaign Manager, commented: “We know that shared surface streets are dangerous and discriminate against the safety and independence of vulnerable pedestrians. If people can’t tell where the road begins and the pavement ends, how can you feel safe?
“We need everyone to get behind our campaign so that they are free to use their town centres and high streets as they wish – instead of them becoming no-go areas.“
The ‘Say NO to shared streets’ campaign is supported by nearly 20 other national disability organisations including MENCAP, Leonard Cheshire Disability, RNID, RNIB and Arthritis Care.
People can find out more about Guide Dogs ‘Say NO to shared streets’ campaign and Take Action at www.guidedogs.org.uk/sharedstreets Simply fill in a few details and concerns about shared surface streets, and a personal message will be sent to their MP. It only takes a minute but gives vital support to the campaign.
Visit www.guidedogs.org.uk/sharedstreets for more information on the campaign.
Roger Gale & Tom Pey