On a recent training session which Vicky and I (Dave) delivered to a team of care staff in a residential home, I was asked the following question: “How do you cross the road?”. Obviously I explained this to the group but this provoked me to write a bit about blister paving to raise the awareness of it and its purpose.
It is likely that you’re aware of and have seen the tactile paving as shown in the photo. It is the most commonly used type of tactile paving and it’s correct name is blister paving but do you know why it’s there?
Blister paving, sometimes known or referred to as dotted or bumpy paving is paving that has a grid of raised bumps, just as if golf balls have been set in to a concrete slab and had their tops flattened.
It is usually buff or red in colour with natural and charcoal colours only being permitted in some conservation areas. The red coloured blister paving can be found at controlled crossing points (pedestrian and zebra crossings for example) with the buff coloured blister paving being used at uncontrolled crossing points (opposite sides of the road at road junctions for example). In addition, blister paving should always be used adjacent to dropped kerbs.
The purpose of blister paving is to help a blind or partially sighted person identify a safe crossing point. This works as they can feel the change of surface, usually through the change in vibrations through their long cane (white stick) or as the surface changes under their feet. The different colours help people, with some useful vision, know whether it is a controlled or uncontrolled crossing point.
You may notice that sometimes uncontrolled crossing points are set in quite a distance from a road junction and this is to ensure that they’re positioned on a straight part of the road at a safe point and so they can be positioned to be exactly opposite each other.
These crossing points are also used by other pavement users and are particularly helpful for people using mobility scooters, wheelchairs and pushchairs due to the dropped kerb.
IMPORTANT: It is really important that you do not park over or block these crossing points. Doing this not only suggests that you may be parking too close to a junction, but also puts blind and partially sighted people in danger by making them cross in a less safe part of the road. It can also disorientate them if they use these for navigational aids. Just imagine, if you can’t see, the difficulty of finding a new place to cross or having to navigate around a vehicle and reorient yourself when you have no visual point of reference. Not only could this be quite dangerous, it could increase anxiety and cause unnecessary stress. You are also likely to inconvenience someone using a mobility scooter or wheelchair who needs a dropped kerb to cross the road.
Come back next month when I explain about other tactile paving types! 😊
We’re always interested to know about other people’s experiences and thoughts. Please share these by commenting…
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Our VIDA Insights...
Following our experiences from delivering our Vision Impairment Awareness training days over the past couple of years, we know that there’s loads more that we could talk about and examples we could have shared. Whilst these won’t be a substitute for our training, they will give you an insight (hence the name!) into our thoughts, observations and experiences from each of our perspectives - Dave’s living with sight loss and Vicky’s from being a sighted person and working alongside and supporting people who have sight loss.