Halton motorists who park on pavements are putting blind people at risk, warns survey

First published in Runcorn and Widnes World: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

THOUGHTLESS motorists are putting the lives of visually impaired people at risk by parking on pavements, a survey carried out by the charity Guide Dogs has revealed.

Widnes blind man Matt Mair says his guide dog, Monty, often has to lead him around obstacles into the path of oncoming traffic.

He fears mums with prams are also being put in danger.

Grandad Matt, aged 63, from Hough Green, said: “My dog is trained to guide me to the kerb. If there is an obstacle, he will go around it which means I have to walk out into the road.

“It is very dangerous with all the traffic.”

Matt lost the central vision of his left eye in 2009 and his right eye was affected two years later.

The cause of his sight loss is anterior ischemic optic neuropathy.

Matt worked as a Runcorn docks labourer until he was made redundant in the 80s and then became a driver at Plasmor in Widnes.

He had to have one leg amputated below the knee after a motorcycle accident.

He is married to Linda, aged 65, and has a son, David, and daughter, Rachael.

He said: “Having this guide dog is unbelievable. It has given me much more confidence.

“I would ask drivers to be more considerate and realise the dangers they are putting people like me in.”

A spokesman for Guide Dogs said: “Guide dogs are trained to avoid obstacles and take the most direct route. This can result in an owner being led into a road potentially putting both them and their dog into the path of oncoming traffic.

“Parked cars affect many pedestrians including parents with pushchairs, wheelchair users and those with mobility scooters.”

There are 595 people registered blind and partially sighted in Halton and 17 guide dog owners.

Visit guidedogs.org.uk for more information about their campaign against street clutter.


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