Charity leader wonders if Surrey’s Rainbow Crossings could be a potential danger to the safety of the visually impaired

The growing popularity of Rainbow Crossings across the UK in favor of LGBTQ + communities has been met with great support.

Not everyone agrees with them, however, and in Surrey, the Reigate Rainbow Passage was vandalized twice earlier this month within two weeks of its launch.

Charities such as the Royal National Institute of Blind People have even written to the Mayor of London expressing concern that these type of crossings pose a potential danger to visually impaired people.

READ MORE: ‘Cowardly Vandalism’: Reigate’s New Rainbow Passage Degraded Within Days.

Bob Hughes, managing director of the Sight for Surrey charity, said: “It’s a real conundrum, isn’t it? If you are talking about people who are disadvantaged and may be subject to discrimination, there is no doubt that visually impaired people fall into this category.

“The problem is not necessarily blind people but visually impaired people, perhaps the elderly who might be confused because it is not what they expect.

“Someone who is blind and uses a white stick will know where that crossing is and frankly he can’t see what color it is anyway – he’s using audio notifications of railway crossings. “

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Bob commented that railway crossings inform the public that there is a ‘rainbow’ population – not just with gender, but with disability and race – and so it is a celebration to tell people. visually impaired or deaf that their needs must be taken into account as well.

He added: “I’m really on the side of saying that’s a good thing, but I think they should be used sparingly and maybe only there for a while, then go back to the white crossover and maybe- be bring it back at another time. “

Surrey’s very first rainbow crossing on a public road took place on Flambard Way in Godalming in September 2021.

Since then, another rainbow passage has been set up at Cockshot Hill in Reigate.

Stephen Ireland, from Pride in Surrey, said: “As the founder of Pride in Surrey, my personal perspective is that everyone’s life matters and that there has to be a way to make the crossing, maybe with a section suitable for visually impaired people.

“More should be done in Surrey for those with accessibility needs and I have no doubts that Surrey County Council, by working with the right people and the right organizations, will come up with a potential way and means to make everything the world feels valued, equal and included. “

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Susan W. Lloyd