Watch out for blind and partially sighted people

People with with poor sight rely on their hearing to get around safely. They cannot hear cycles so we have to use our eyes to help them.

The Guide Dogs for the Blind is calling for all cyclists to use their Cycleyes.  We should help blind people don't  frighten or harm them.

They ask cyclists to remember these five points:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

LCC Campaigns Officer 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 way less able than we are."

The Guide Dogs website reports that "a short survey of our client group in London showed that of the guide dog owners who responded, 42% had been involved in a collision with a cyclist and 76% have had a near miss when cyclists either ride on pavements or skip red lights at pedestrian crossings."

These results come from a short 'Survey Monkey' form completed by 33 of the 320 guide dog owners in London.




A shame about the inaccurate and anti-cycling tone of much of the reporting on this, ie.:

LCC should only join these campaigns where the organisation involved also makes a very strong case for cycling as offering, in general, much safer streets than those dominated by motor vehicles. 

This morning, I watched and read about the media-wide launch of the 'Cycleyes' campaign and my heart sank, knowing that as a 'cyclist menace', I would be on the receiving end of yet more negative bile and anti-cycling propoganda. My ride home tonight and the for next few days will have been made that little bit more dangerous.

Thanks to this campaign – one of a long line of 'anti-cycling toned' campaigns – people will deem me as a cycling menace, routinely riding on pavements scaring and colliding with the blind and their guide dogs. Out on the roads, I will be considered as 'fair game'.

It goes without saying that everyone should show awareness and kind consideration of people who are blind, have sight problems or are impeded by any other disabilities, and help them in anyway they can. 

And it also goes without saying that all road users have a duty of care to each other and must follow the Highway Code.

However, I fear that emotive and loaded headlines such as "London cyclists 'collide with 25% of guide dogs' working in the capital" play into the hands of a very hateful and very vociferous anti-cycling lobby who would love to seize an opportunity to see an end to all cyclists 'getting in their way'. On the BBC website, a headline link to an obviously anti-cyclist Facebook page demonstrates this.

There are very contradictory messages regarding cycling. On the one hand, cycling as a booming activity and as a celebrated national sport are being applauded in the media. On the other, cyclists are the object of hate and resentment and, as in TfL's 'Stay Back' campaign, we are being told to know our place and that motorists can be absolved of their behaviour and responsibilities.

Although any number of incidents is too high, 25% of 320 people with guide dogs is a low figure and the timescale of the statistics wasn't qualified either. It is very rare to see anyone blind with guide dog out on the streets or even on London Transport. What are the real stats and who conceived and sponsored the campaign?

I spend a lot of time commuting by bike around London and I get to see and experience the behaviours of all its road users. I think the case against cyclists is being hysterically overstated and I'm not sure why just cyclists have been singled out with regards to inconsideration shown towards blind people.

I've seen very very few people actually riding a bike on a pavement and invariably, these people are not cyclists. I think the problem of bikes being ridden on pavements is overstated. Once again, where's the evidence?

As a cyclist, my life depends on being fully aware of the surrounding environment and following the Highway Code. But no matter how careful and respectful of others I am, other road users (motorists and pedestrians) seem to treat me and other cyclists with total contempt and with no consideration for anyones' safety.

Aside of some motorists who like to drive in a threatening manner, I've lost count of the number of pedestrians who just step out into the road without bothering to look at any point – it is frightening.

The 'Cycleyes' campaign highlights some good points that everyone one of us should consider, regardless of how we use the road – as a pedestrian, as a cyclist, as a motorist. But from what I've witnessed, there's a very long way to go before blind people are treated with awareness, respect and kind consideration from other people on foot using London Transport.

This post was edited by orange marmalade at 1:32pm 27 August 2014.

Very good points from Orange Marmalade. It's not clear to me why LCC got so closely involved in something that could so easily be given an anti-cycling slant. 

A good reply from @orangemarmalade, but I'm not sure there's any evidence LCC is at all "closely involved" in this campaign.

Reproducing the press release from the Guide Dogs people is simply good manners, and it could be perceived as somewhat inflammatory to ignore this campaign completely.

The sad fact is that there are many inconsiderate people out there, and some of them ride bicycles.

Therefore, this kind of campaign - while it does provide fuel to the anti-cycling idiots - is wholly necessary.

One thing that irks me about this campaign is that many partially sighted people do NOT use guide dogs or carry white canes. In the same way that many partially deaf people (me included) don't have hearing aids.

Using a guide dog or white cane is a very public display of vulnerability, which some people are fearful of in itself. Sad but true.

The fact is that anyone crossing the road could have impaired vision or hearing, especially older people, so it's best to exercise a high degree of care at all times.

As Charlie Lloyd says, we on bicycles have a duty not to hurt people who are more vulnerable than us, and that includes everyone on foot - whether they're deaf, partially sighted, or just not paying attention.

We expect this from motorists, so there's no excuse for it not to work the other way too...

Some good points from Orange Marmalade. The BBC are reporting that the claim about 25% of guide dog owners being involved in a collision with cyclists has now been withdrawn.

We have added information on their survey to the web story above. 14 of the 33 guide dog owners who replied reported having a collision with a cyclist. As this is a self selected survey it is not possible to make any statistical inference from those numbers.

One reason for LCC to support the guide dog users was to point out a real problem (however big) and lay the basis for working together to get better infrastructure. If we propose safe space for cycling on London Streets that seriously inconveniences blind people we will get nowhere. All the blind people I spoke with this morning recognised the need to improve conditions for cyclists.

Another reason to support them is to make the point that many cyclists are inconsiderate of pedestrians, whether they are sighted or not. If you cycle on urban streets in London you should be expecting pedestrians to walk out without paying attention and moderate your riding style so that it doesn't create a problem for them, or for you.



The guide dogs people are certainly claiming that they worked closely with LCC on this campaign.


LCC's role is to be vocal in support of people using bikes, not to reinforce stereotypes of asocial behaviour - or to support those creating them. Do you see the AA or the RAC condeming speeding or light-jumping motorists? If even the LCC is banging on about inconsiderate cyclists etc, no surprise that people driving can find easy justifications for aggressive road behaviour.

  • By PaulM at 7:32pm 28 August 2014

Looks like a classic example of Stockholm Syndrome at LCC!

So a fabricated story is being used to bash cyclists, what's new?

BBC should know better, and check their sources before running off at the mouth.

Of course, if streets had separate cycleways with texturally marked edges for the visually impaired then it would avoid potential conflict. If only there were some examples the authorities could use to inform their intellectually impaired decision making!

"New ‘Access for Blind People in Towns’ Guidance Note

January 9, 2014

New guidance notes with advice on designing shared space schemes from the point of view of blind or partially sighted people are now available on the IHE website". . Members only unfortunately, anyone got access?

This post was edited by mikeybikey at 11:45am 29 August 2014.

  • By bigpete at 8:34am 29 August 2014

This beggars belief. So cyclists are the biggest “threat” (in the words of the original BBC article) to London’s blind people?

The headlines should have been “Poor Infrastructure putting blind Londoners at risk”.

I understand the need to get everyone on board, but laying your neck on the block and handing them a sword wasn’t helpful.

I thought the days of own-goal cycle campaigning were over.

"One reason for LCC to support the guide dog users was to point out a real problem (however big) and lay the basis for working together to get better infrastructure"


Hang on, the major issue with the reporting of the survay is the fact that results cannot possibly be used to say whether or not the problem exists at all. Despite this the media (LCC included!) decided to report that there is a huge problem, and it's all the fault of those bloody cyclists again.


Where in your report is there ANY mention of improved infrastructure needs, or what these improvements might be? 

I feel that the LCC still has questions to anwer on this. The survey commissioned by Guide Dogs (that came up with the 25% figure) was clearly intended to provoke, rather than give any useful indication of the problem.

Was the LCC aware of the survey and the enormous flaws in the way it was conducted? It's worth noting that found evidence for the bias in the survey from Twitter. Why did LCC overlook this information?

Did anyone actually ask Guide Dogs about their research before endorsing their campaign?

Has anyone from Guide Dogs apologised to LCC for the tone of the campaign?

I'm going to be generous and assume LCC were stabbed in the back by Guide Dogs and the mainstream media, but even so, to nod along unquestioningly when your members are being cast as the bad guys is incredibly naive.

"Something needs to be done about the cyclist menace, paying no tax, no insurance, totally disregarding the law and other road/pavement users in their rush to get from A to B".

Following that morning's rolling media coverage of the 'Cycleyes' campaign launch, I was later greeted by a prominent news feature in the Evening Standard which used sensationally violent language to describe [all] cyclists as a dangerous terrifying out of control lot who like to ride around London smashing into vulnerable people. The whole article gave an inaccurate, misleading, unbalanced and irrational 'viewpoint' which went some way to undermining cyclists' position as legitimate roadusers. 

Predictably, this brought out the ranters in the Standard's letters column with their sweeping generalisations on how much of a renegade bunch cyclists are and why they shouldn't be allowed.

The Cycleyes campaign seems to have been constructed on biased circumstantial anecdotes from a small number of people who have unfortunately suffered bad experiences and have responded to a loaded survey. I feel the results have been used to generate flimsy stats in order to support a factitous campaign to generate sensationalised headline copy to further self-promotion.

I'm surprised LCC readily gave their support to a campaign that lacks robust data, is largely based on misplaced fear and promotes the voice of the anti-cycling lobby.

"London cyclists 'crashing into more blind people and their guide dogs,' charity warns".

"Cyclists are increasingly smashing into blind Londoners and their guide dogs after mounting the pavement and jumping red lights, a charity warned today.

The Guide Dogs charity, which helps blind and visually-impaired people, said more Londoners were calling their helpline to report being hit or involved in near misses.

The most dangerous incidents involved cyclists riding on pavements or skipping red lights at pedestrian crossings, the charity said.

Guide dog owners today described the “terrifying” feeling of cyclists whizzing past them.

A survey by the charity found one in four blind and partially-sighted people were involved in a crash and seven in ten had experienced near misses".

This post was edited by orange marmalade at 11:14pm 2 September 2014.

  • By maryoko at 3:04pm 29 March 2016

The wise man will let his past to make him better not bitter, Stand for what is right even if you are standing alone






Post a reply

Sign in to post a reply.