A 2012 study
by Monash University Accident Research Centre found people who are blind or have low vision use a variety of techniques to move safely in the community.
A major concern identified in the study was their safety when crossing the road and on footpaths, with one in 12 people who are blind or have low vision being hit by a motor vehicle or bicycle in the past five years.This affects not just people who have vision impairments, but all road users.
To address this we have developed information on these pages and in accessible downloadable materials, including animations and handy brochures for all road users including: "I might not see you but you can always see me" animation. Go to the audio described version or the captioned version here
On this page: Pedestrians who are blind or have low vision:
Drivers and cyclists:
Pedestrians who are blind or have low vision
Becoming a Confident Road User
We have developed the following information to improve your safety and help raise your confidence when walking around the streets.
Download the brochure:
How should a long cane user cross the road?
These helpful tips will help you to confidently cross the road at an intersection.
Download the brochure:
Drivers and cyclists
It is important that all road users know how to identify people who are blind or have low vision, to improve how they interact with them on our streets.
What do I do when I see a person with vision loss crossing the road?
It's important for all road users to understand what is helping and what's not.
Hey Driver! Did you see that pedestrian?
Are you driving with a vision impairment? As we age our eyes can change.
Tips for drivers
People who are blind or have low vision have less information to rely on when making critical decisions about where and when to cross the road. Other senses, such as hearing can assist, but do not compensate for the loss of vision.
When driving, riding a motorcycle or bicycle, it is important to be patient with pedestrians and to recognise that people who use canes or dogs may take longer to cross the road. Also be aware that a person who is vision impaired may not make eye contact, or respond to visual gestures.
It is important that all of us who use the road network follow the road rules to ensure we arrive at our destination safely and learn how to share the road with all road users, including people who are blind or have low vision.
Road rules for drivers and cyclists
Unlike a motor vehicle, a bicycle does not emit adequate sound to alert the pedestrian to their approach. Bicycle riders should ride with extra caution around people with vision impairment.
Ringing the bicycle bell or using your voice lets the pedestrian know the bicycle is nearby. Please slow down and give plenty of space if you are overtaking.
There are road rules for drivers and riders
to follow when interacting with pedestrians, for example:
- A driver must give way to any pedestrian on a pedestrian crossing, and must not overtake another vehicle which has stopped at a pedestrian crossing. When approaching a pedestrian crossing, drive at a speed that would enable you to stop safely.
- When turning at any intersection (except a roundabout), you must give way to any pedestrians crossing the road you are entering.
- When entering or leaving a driveway or private property, you must give way to pedestrians and bicycles on any footpath, path or nature strip you cross.
- In a shared zone shared by both vehicles and pedestrians, you must give way to pedestrians
- You must give way to any pedestrian at or near the stop sign or line. This includes pedestrians as well as bicycles crossing in front of you on a shared or bicycle path.
There are also some specific rules for bicycle riders
when using shared paths:
- On footpaths or shared paths a bicycle rider must give way to all pedestrians. Pedestrians include people using vision aids, wheelchairs, mobility scooters and wheeled recreational devices. Wheeled recreational devices include rollerblades, skates, skateboards and scooters.
- A bicycle rider using a footpath or shared path must keep to the left of the path unless it is impractical to do so.
- A bicycle rider is required to have a bell or similar warning device on his or her bicycle. When overtaking other path users a bike rider should use this warning device or his or her voice to warn others.
For more information about the road rules, visit www.vicroads.vic.gov.au
- Plan where you will walk and always choose the safest place to cross the road
- Whenever possible, cross at a pedestrian crossing, traffic signal or pedestrian refuge
- If you cannot cross the whole road in one attempt, wait on the pedestrian refuge
- Walk at times when there are other pedestrians
- Wear bright or light coloured clothing so others can see you.
Assessment and training:
Vision Australia provides Orientation and Mobility
assessment and training. Orientation and Mobility specialists can assist you with skills, techniques and the use of mobility aids to assist you to get around safely.
Vision Australia Tel: 1300 847 466 or www.visionaustralia.org