Intolerance of Difference

Just a few lines to write about something that has been going around in my head recently. Over the last few years more and more adaptations are appearing out in the environment to make things easier for people with disabilities. Announcements on trains, trams and buses are a huge help to me as a blind person for example. However, time and again, when feedback is sought about these systems some people always say that they are intrusive and disturb their commute. Yes, I guess they are intrusive but if it makes the difference between whether someone gets off at the right place or not, are they not worthwhile?

Then I heard something even more worrying last week. It is only hearsay, a chance comment made by someone I encountered but it made me feel quite sad in a way. In some parts of Nottingham, textured paving near to crossings is being removed because wheelchair and mobility scooter users have complained about it. Yes, I expect the chair or scooter will judder a bit when wheeled over textured paving, but is it really that much of a problem? Why would a group of people with disabilities compromise the safety of another disabled group to make their lives more comfortable?

Personally, dropped kerbs can be a bit of a problem for me sometimes as it is not clear where the pavement ends. However, stick some tactiles on them and they become obvious to me. I wouldn’t dream of suggesting that they shouldn’t be there as they are vital for wheelchair users and I am aware of the extra distance people with wheelchairs sometimes have to cover just to find them.

Why would anyone be so intolerant of adaptations which make life safer and easier for blind people?

About Mel Griffiths

I live and work in Nottingham, England and am blind. This blog is often centred around things that happen to me because of being blind. This is my space to write and sometimes people will disagree with what I write, but its the one place I have in which to be frank and honest. I also like to reflect on the funnier side of life from time to time.
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One Response to Intolerance of Difference

  1. Torie says:

    Hi Mell. This is very worrying however i have a point to make on the issue. A lot of places are being revamped under what are called “public relm” schemes. It’s all to make towns and cities better and bring more visitors to them. Where i live, we are going through one of these public relms. The tactile paving that has been laid is metal studs under the concrete to make them last longer. It often feels as if you are walking on cobbles rather than tactile paving. I can imagine these would be rather uncomfortable for wheelchair users, but in no way should they be removed. I hope you can find out if this is true and make sure to campaigne strongly for this. If there are no tactile indicators for road crossings, how are blind people meant to cross safely?

    Good luck.

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