Bonnie L. Sherrell
|September 20, 2002|
Although audible signals are not needed at all light-controlled intersections, there are many, particularly ones with complex traffic patterns, which have offset sidewalks, or are at odd angles or on particularly wide and busy streets, where audible signals are a godsend for those who otherwise cannot tell easily that the light is in their favor. Yes, these individuals will need to have proper mobility instruction along with the audible signals to cross safely; however, the idea that the N.F.B. speaks for all individuals who are blind is laughable. I have seen sighted people who have expressed gratitude for such signals, particularly when they were distracted by small children or looking for small items such as car keys and they were not necessarily watching for the walk signal. So often the window when it is relatively safe to cross is so small, pedestrians need all the help they can get to tell when the cycle is in their favor.
It is a similar matter with tactile warning strips along train and subway platforms--again, the N.F.B. does NOT speak for everyone. I have seen the pain in the eyes of those who have lost friends who, in a crush of people, had no idea where the edge of the platform was and managed to fall off in front of an oncoming train. In situations when oncoming trains push air currents into odd patterns, and the noise of wheels and engines and crowds alter echoes, and when full extension of the cane is likely to trip other pedestrians or end with the cane being stepped on or broken, those who cannot see or whose vision is distorted need the extra warning; and again, such warnings have served to save the lives of individuals with normal vision as well who are distracted or caught in a mass of taller folks with no real idea of how far the edge might be.
Please continue to support the inclusion of regulations encouraging the use of such safety items in the construction and renovation of controlled intersections and raised platforms of all kinds.
Bonnie L. Sherrell
Teacher at Large
index previous comment next comment