Don’t Turn a Blind Eye
The Don't Turn a Blind Eye campaign is an initiative by Guide Dogs NSW/ACT that encourages positive changes in the community to make it easier for people with impaired vision to independently get around.
New research reveals that most Australians would offer help to someone who is blind or has impaired vision. However, despite these positive intentions, people with impaired vision have told Guide Dogs NSW/ACT that their ability to get around would be made easier if those offering assistance knew a little more about how they can help.
Don't Turn a Blind Eye is a public education campaign offering practical solutions to encourage the community to play a more active role in helping people with impaired vision, particularly when it comes to getting around safely and independently.
Facts & Figures
- Nine out of 10 people with impaired vision have experienced difficulty getting around because of footpath obstructions. Topping the list of obstacles are overhanging branches, uneven surfaces and cluttered alfresco dining.
What can the public do?
- Ensure that the trees on their property are trimmed so that they do not present a hazard.
- Report any areas that have overhanging trees and shrubs to council so that they can be trimmed.
- Sweep footpaths regularly, particularly when trees are dropping leaves and seed pods as they are a slip hazard.
- Make sure your bins are placed appropriately and retrieved as soon as possible.
- Keep an eye out for hazards and move bins and other rubbish off the footpath, if appropriate and possible.
- Report dumped rubbish to council.
What can councils do?
- Respond promptly to complaints about the need for trees to be trimmed.
- Ensure that footpaths are swept regularly, to minimise slip hazards caused by fallen leaves and seed pods.
- Educate workers about this issue so that their practices minimise risk.
- Provide timely collection of items placed out for council clean up.
- Promptly clean up dumped items, particularly if they obstruct footpaths.
- Regularly inspect footpaths and repair uneven sections.
- Respond in a timely fashion to reports of uneven paths.
- Ensure that footpaths are suitably repatriated after services have been accessed underneath.
- Ensure that the street trees selected will not cause future issues with paving.
Why is this campaign so important?
People with vision impairment rely upon the ability to safely travel from A to B. It’s their only way to ensure that they can stay active and independent. As blind or vision impaired Australians cannot drive, they rely on being able to travel safely by foot to their destination or to local public transport interchanges. As these Australians cannot see the hazards and risks in their path, it’s vital that both the public and council keep these pedestrians top of mind and ensure they face no risk of injury when travelling on footpaths.