Press Release - #MakeWayDay

September 25 2018

Make Way Day is back and this year coming to a street near you with 19 local authorities taking part, and three major charities all co-ordinated by the Disability Federation of Ireland. 

The campaign is a friendly reminder that cars or vans pulled up on footpaths mean the end of the road for a person in a wheelchair. Saoirse Smyth explains. “My route home from work takes me by a few Take-Aways. Drivers like to pull right up on the footpaths outside, especially on rainy days. This blocks my way. Why can't people just use their legs!”.

People with visual impairment like Kevin Kelly, who was photographed for our campaign, are forced off the footpath and into oncoming traffic. “Sometimes it can be like running a gauntlet to do something simple like getting to work or going to the shops.”

Maryam Madani knows she takes her life in her hands when she is forced off the footpath in her wheelchair. “Pedestrian wheelchair users are a third more likely to be killed in a road accident than the general public. I’ve had a few close calls but it’s still easier for me than blocked paths, I have no choice but to go out onto traffic on busy roads just to get to where I need to go." 

On the footpaths bins, bicycles (chained to lampposts/railings, often falling over) can block a path or be a trip hazard for a visually impaired person. An over-hanging branch is a slap in the face and very disorientating.

The Disability Federation of Ireland believes that most of the obstacles are due to thoughtlessness and a lack of awareness on behalf of the wider public. “People just don’t think and our experience with this campaign is that once they’re reminded, with the sticker or by our online photos and videos, they’re willing to change.”

Last year's reaction was very heartening, people supported the campaign on social media and throughout the year local authorities over the country have passed a motion establishing a Make Way Day in their area and calling on the Taoiseach and the Government to establish a national Make Way Day"

This continues to be our goal in 2018. One day a year when the needs of people with disabilities, over 13% of the population are highlighted in public spaces and in society generally. "