IT’S TIME TO MAKE WAY FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
September 26 2017
LEADING ORGANISATIONS JOIN FORCES TO RAISE AWARENESS OF DANGERS POSED BY EVERY DAY OBSTACLES
PARKED CARS ON FOOTPATHS & SANDWICH BOARDS DEEMED WORST OFFENDERS
Tuesday, 26th September 2017:
This morning if;
- your car is parked on a footpath blocking the way,
- you’re a business owner who’s left a sandwich board out creating an obstacle,
- you’re bicycle is chained to a lamppost creating a trip hazard for a person with a disability,
expect a friendly sticker reminding you to make way for people with disabilities.
Thirteen of the country’s lead disability organisations have come together to call for an All-Ireland “#MakeWayDay”. On one day a year they’d like the people of Ireland to pause and think of people with disabilities in the public spaces we all share. They believe thoughtlessness and genuine lack of awareness is behind most instances like those listed.
In fact the three examples above are the top three recorded by people with disabilities themselves in over-90 videos submitted in the lead-up to today. Compilations highlights from the videos will be shared on social media with the hashtag, #MakeWayDay. All over Ireland people took out their mobile phones to show how a badly parked car can be the end of a journey for a person in a motorized wheelchair. (These cannot get on and off kerbs.)
The full list is below, ranked in order of most frequent encounters:
1. Cars parked on footpaths (25%)
2. Sandwich boards/signs on the footpath (18%)
3. Bikes/mopeds & motorbikes tied to lampposts/railings (16%)
4. Wheelie Bins on footpaths (14%)
5. Overgrown hedges/Greenery/Floral arrangements (10%)
6. Others (17%)
Number five above, an overgrown hedge on a suburban street is literally a slap in the face to a person with a visual impairment.
Disability campaigner Barry O’Donnell, explained about the number one hazzard: “As a person who is blind, I am no stranger to walking into cars and indeed vans blocking footpaths.
A quiet word with neighbours has worked wonders but I never know when I will walk into a car injuring my head, knee or shins.
For wheelchair users, the elderly, parents with buggies and children, having to navigate around a car/van blocking the footpath unnecessarily puts them on the road where there would be a blind spot to road users putting pedestrians in danger.
Navigating cars and obstacles has caused me to lose my orientation and to end up in the middle of busy roads.”
Today any and all obstacles blocking the way will be hit with a guerilla campaign of stickers, reading: “Hey, this Block my Way” and “MakeWayDay.com”.
These powerful, simple messages encourage everyone to give further thought and consideration for people with disabilities when going about their own daily lives.
- Disability campaigners were heartened by reaction to an earlier campaign this year that was undertaken by the Dublin City Council, which showed that the Irish public were very willing to co-operate, once they became aware of the issues. That is why the Disability Federation of Ireland, in tandem with 12 member organisations are calling for a national Make Way Day from 2018. The campaign has also benefitted hugely from the involvement of DDFH&B and The Reputations Agency who are giving their time to this campaign free of charge.
The people of Ireland are encouraged to sign the petition on change.org at the following link: http://bit.ly/2xzYsEV.
Note to Editors:
- Dublin City Council paid for an awareness campaign in early June –as a result of of two workshops facilitated by DFI earlier in the year. The campaign aimed to highlight the physical barriers people with disabilities face trying to get around town.
- An advertising company DDFH&B created three images which featured on 200 bus stops, luas stops and the sides of Dublin Buses.
- The campaign generated a lot of publicity – including an online poll in the journal.ie which generated 12,000+ responses with more than 11,000 saying they were in favour of fines for people blocking access.
- People with disabilities from all over got in touch with DFI to say they wanted these issues highlighted in their cities and towns. Fast forward to today and DFI are endorsing phase II of the campaign alongside 12 of our member organisations.
- DDFH&B and The Reputations Agency are giving their time to this campaign free of charge.
The twelve organisations endorsing the campaign, alongside the Disability Federation of Ireland are:
1. Arthritis Ireland
2. Blanchardstown Centre for Independent Living
3. Central Remedial Clinic
5. Debra Ireland
6. Fighting Blindness
7. Greater Dublin Centre for Independent Living
9. Irish Wheelchair Association
10. MS Society
11. National Council for the Blind
For more information contact Clare Cronin at DFI 01-7080108 or 086-0277824
Or Nicole Fenner – The Reputations Agency – Nicole@thereputtaionsagency.ie 086 86 41544