The Malta Guide Dogs Foundation shares the Local Councils’ concern about scooters
The Malta Guide Dogs Foundation, which trains visually impaired persons to become independent in their mobility through the use of the white cane and the guide dog, fully supports the recent position taken by a number ofLocal Councils in Malta against the inappropriate manner that scooters are being used.
The Foundation believes that the introduction of scooters in Malta can beseen as a positive development, only if the rules applicable to their useare improved and properly enforced. However, this has not been the case sofar, as evidenced by numerous complaints received from thevisually-impaired. In fact, the dangerous driving and the careless abandonment of scooters cause inaccessibility and represents a serious danger to the visually impaired, who move around on their own with the support of a white cane or a guide dog.
In order to mitigate and possibly eliminate this negative effect on the visually impaired, the Malta Guide Dogs Foundation thinks that the following points should urgently be addressed:
- Since scooters are silent, these should make an acoustic signal, such a shooting the horn and also slow down, when approaching a visually-impaired person aided by a white cane or a guide dog;
- Scooters should not be carelessly abandoned on footpaths and pedestrian areas, so as to block the way, adding to the many other obstacles that unfortunately already exist;
- Authorities need to enhance enforcement and see that the use of scooters does not impinge on the safety and independence of visually-impaired persons.
Unless these points are quickly addressed, the risk is that many visually-impaired will increasingly feel discouraged to go out on their own!
Consequently, the precious work performed by the Malta Guide Dogs Foundation so far and which gave such persons a greater degree of independence in their mobility, simply risks being lost.