Christina McKelvie MSP took on the challenge of cleaning up the streets at the SNP Conference this week, when the charity Guide Dogs Scotland offered her the chance to learn more about the daily difficulties faced by people living with sight loss.
Guide Dogs Scotland is calling on MSPs and the public to back Sandra White MSP's Footway Parking and Double Parking (Scotland) Bill. According to the charity, badly parked cars are putting the lives of pedestrians up and down the country at risk every day. These vehicles are forcing people to step out into the road, without being able to clearly see on-coming traffic.
The charity used a unique twist on the fun-fair game, Hook-a-Duck, to highlight the campaign and Ms McKelvie became the guide when she helped a rubber duck navigate a stream full of obstacles.
The MSP for Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse is supporting Guide Dogs Scotland’s campaign on pavement parking, including a proposed law to stop people from parking on pavements anywhere except where the council deems it unavoidable. The charity is currently running an online petition for the public to sign in support of the bill, so local people can play their part in ending problem parking at www.guidedogsscotland.org.uk.
There are nearly two million people in the UK who are living with sight loss, and by 2050 there could be nearly four million, so it’s more important than ever that our streets are safe for people who are blind or partially sighted.
Ms McKelvie said: “We are probably a bit apt to forget how our own bad habits affect people with diminished or no sight.
“I want to emphasise that just because that may be a smallish group of people in this constituency, we shouldn’t disregard their needs. One constituent of mine who is blind has had awful problems caused by uncaring, casual abuse of this kind.”
Jane Horsburgh, Policy Manager for Guide Dogs Scotland, said: “Parking on pavements is blighting our streets. It puts all pedestrians in danger, particularly those living with sight loss.
“It is terrifying for someone who cannot see oncoming traffic to take the risk of stepping out into a road because someone has decided to park on the pavement. We hope this bill will see this dangerous practice outlawed once and for all, and call on all MSPs to back a change in the law."