Having witnessed an avoidable collision between a car and a pedestrian on Saturday in Brecon, Fay Jones MP is calling for better protection for vulnerable individuals in town centres.
On Saturday in Brecon town centre, Miss Jones witnessed a visually impaired gentleman trying to cross High Street. He was being led across the road by his guide dog. On reaching the pavement outside Lloyds Bank, the dog stopped as five parked motorbikes were blocking his path on the pavement. The gentleman then took a step backwards into the traffic where he was struck by a car. Fortunately, the car was travelling at a slow speed and the gentleman was not seriously hurt.
Following the incident, Miss Jones has been in contact with Powys County Council to discuss how Brecon town centre could be made safer for those with visual impairments, and whether bollards can be installed in front of Lloyds Bank to ensure that pavement parking is no longer possible.
Miss Jones has previously met with the charity Guide Dogs in Parliament, where she undertook a blindfolded walk through Parliament guided by one of their dogs. Miss Jones described the experience as “incredibly unsettling and worrying even though the guide dog was brilliantly trained”.
Guide Dogs is running a campaign called Streets Ahead which is focused on making streets and outdoor public places more accessible for people living with a visual impairment.
Miss Jones has committed to continue working with Guide Dogs in Parliament and across Brecon and Radnorshire to raise awareness about the impact of pavement parking. She is taking the matter forward with Powys County Council to ensure that this incident cannot happen again.
Speaking about the incident, Miss Jones said:
“I was walking past at the time and spoke with the gentleman, his wife and the driver of the vehicle all of whom were understandably very distressed. This incident was entirely avoidable, and it is very fortunate that he was not more seriously injured.
“I understand from the gentleman’s wife that several motorbikes are often parked outside Lloyds Bank and that this has been reported to the Council before. I have also been led to believe that money has been allocated to install bollards there but to date, action has not been taken. I am in touch with Powys County Council to see whether we can progress with installation of the bollards and what else we can do to make our streets safer for those who are visually impaired.
“I am very concerned that this incident could easily happen again, and a more serious injury could occur. We must do everything we can to ensure people can access the shops and businesses in all our town centres, but pavement parking has to be stopped. I’ll be leading this campaign until our towns and villages across Brecon and Radnorshire are safe for everyone.”