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Blind man urging council not to bring shared space to Ilford after getting knocked down by cyclists twice

PUBLISHED: 10:21 18 September 2017 | UPDATED: 11:06 18 September 2017

Patrick Roberts and his dog Rufus

Patrick Roberts and his dog Rufus

Ellena Cruse

A registered blind man is urging Redbridge Council to rethink its shared space proposals after he was hit twice by cyclists.

Patrick Roberts, trustee at Transport for All, has worked with other boroughs on regeneration programs and believes shared spaces are difficult to navigate with a disability.

He uses his guide dog, Rufus to travel and said other visually impaired residents are put off walking through spaces where cyclists and vehicles can move freely.

“They can be totally disorientating,” he told the Recorder.

“The danger of a shared space is who will have the right of way?

“I am pro being able to cycle, and ride in tandem myself, but their has to be acknowledgement that if you are creating shared spaces there are no means of policing it.”

Speaking at a meeting with Redbridge Council regeneration team at City Gates Church, Clements Road, Ilford, Mr Roberts said Rufus works on a grid system and won’t necessary be able to move out of the way quick enough if a cyclist crosses his path on a pedestrian walk way.

He fears that other people will be put off from coming to Ilford if the shared spaces scheme goes ahead.

“I have been asked, ‘well why doesn’t the guide dog move out the way’ but they work in straight lines,” he added.

“I have been hit twice when using shared spaces and want to know what kind of impact assessment is going to be carried out for Ilford town centre?”

Alan Banner, or the Redbridge Pensioners Forum, also spoke at the meeting and warned that shared spaces could be dangerous to older people.

“I have experienced shared spaced at Exhibition Road in Kensington,” he told the room.

“The cyclists have no respect for pedestrians and think they have right of way.”

A Redbridge Council spokesman said: “The London Borough of Redbridge is actively engaged with Redbridge Concern and Transport for All regarding the transformation of Ilford’s public realm.

“Through insights of all users, including those who are visually impaired, we will work proactively to improve the scheme as it is delivered, applying the learning directly to project implementation.”

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