Cyclists who jump red lights at pedestrian crossings or cycle on the pavement are putting the blind and their guide dogs at risk, a survey has revealed.
The survey, by the Guide Dogs organisation, asked London's guide dog owners about their experiences and found out of 33 who responded, 14 had been involved in collisions while 25 had had a near miss. The charity wants cyclists to follow five rules to keep blind pedestrians and their guide dogs safe:
- Pay attention — look to see if the guide dog and owner, or person with a cane are waiting to cross. Remember that they can’t always see or hear you.
- If you see the guide dog and owner or person with a cane waiting to cross, use your bell or call out to let them know you’re there.
- If the guide dog and owner or cane user are already crossing the road, please stop and wait until they've reached the other side.
- Do not cycle up behind or around the guide dog and owner, no matter how much space you think you’ve given them. The dog may be startled and get confused.
- If you need to use the pavement for any reason, please dismount. Bumping off the kerb onto the road can scare and confuse the guide dog.
The campaign is supported by Transport for London (TfL) and The London Cycling Campaign. The LCC's Charlie Lloyd said:
"People riding bikes in London have a duty of care to look out for every other road user. Any crash or a close pass which frightens or intimidates a pedestrian is unacceptable. Far worse when that person is blind, partially sighted or in any was less able than we are."
TfL recently released plans for cycle quietways and new segregated lanes in the capital. Last year the Metropolitan police launched Operation Safeway to improve cycling safety and clamp down on unmannerly or law-breaking two-wheelers.
Update: This article has been amended due to previously incorrect figures issued by the Guide Dogs organisation.
Photo by McTumshie in the Londonist Flickr pool.