Neil O'Brien MP backs visually impaired campaigners Downing Street appeal to fight dangerous roads

Neil O'Brien has accompanied Leicestershire campaigners to Downing Street to deliver a petition against the creation of "shared space" roads where pedestrians mingle with motorists and cyclists without pavements or fixed pedestrian crossings to separate them.

Oadby resident Pardeep Gill, one of those from the area who delivered the petition to Downing Street said:

"I'm deeply concerned by the increase in shared space schemes across the UK, such as Jubilee Square in Leicester. These areas make it impossible for me to navigate easily and independently with a long white cane, because there are no kerbs or controlled crossings. This has a huge detrimental impact on visually impaired and disabled people to navigate and cross the roads safely, robbing us of our ability to travel independently. I'm delighted to be accompanied by Neil today along with Michael Pringle, whose three year old son Clinton was killed in a shared space in Jersey last year."

Neil O'Brien, MP for Harborough, Oadby and Wigston said:

"I'm concerned about the growth of these new shared spaces, and that not enough is being done to think through the impact on blind and partially sighted people. For example, guide dogs are taught to recognise kerbs, pedestrian crossings and the boxes on controlled crossings where their owners can press the button to stop traffic. Without these things and clear street markings and crossings life can be quite dangerous for people who don't have good eyesight. I hope the Department for Transport and local councils will think carefully before lots more shared spaces are created."

The petition, organised by National Federation of the Blind UK (NFBUK), calls on the government to urgently implement the recommendations of the Women & Equalities Select Committee Report on Shared Space Roads. They recommend that there is a halt in such development until new DfT inclusive guidelines have been developed, and to review existing schemes.