|September 25, 2002|
Very loud noises, such as construction, audible signals and the cacofony of noises, add to the lack of safety, then the act of crossing. Most conpetant blind can easily cross most streets in our awesome land of freedom. There are only a very few which the fully sighted would agree are extremely dangerous for them, let alone a blind person. Such a street crossing is in Stewart florida. There are five roads which converge. Most fully sighted people find an alternative route. An audible or vibrating arrow pointing to the correct street to cross is the only alternative for such a crossing. But for ninety percent of the roads in the United States, this is just not necessary to safety. It is putting a bandaide on a terrible problem that the Rehab Board should deal with effectively.
I would like to see the stats that say the blind are more likely to be hit by cars. Certainly those that have had \ny desent Orientation and Mobility, those stats would be extraordinarily low.
As for detectible warning strips, most sidewalks slope and are easily detected by blind persons. For those streets that are completely flat then perhaps a bump of some sort is in order. But a person who is blind feels te cane slope along with the slope felt by the feet. Our guide dogs are taught to stop at curbs and wee also feel the slope with our feet. We can also hear the traffic crossing in front of us which warns of a paralell street. There are also things like a sudden breeze, which indicates an open area. All warn loud and clear to a person with good Orientation and Mobility skills. Our dogs stop at drop offs. White canes will fall off a platform or step warning the blind person.
Audible signals give a false sense of security. I tested this theory in Harrisburg Pennsylvania. The signal went off, all four ways were stopped. I had no way of knowing which street would go as soon as the light turned green. Guess what I was nearly killed. The light turned green. The driver was looking at the light not who was right in front of them. Verry very dangerous to blind persons audible signals are! Sadly my guide dog was nearly the first to be hit. I would have never forgiven myself for doing something so stupid to trust a signal instead of my own good sense. I literally almost got my partner killed, let alone my five foot frame. I would like to help to draw up criteria which makes audible signals needed. I can be reached at [...].
I would also like to help design the simplest of tactile warning for very flat sidewalks. The simplest answers are the most profound. Thank you for considering my testimony into the record.
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