Video: MP highlights guide dog dangers

An MP got an insight into what life is like for a blind person during the school rush – dodging prams, cars parked on the pavement and huge lorries.

But for guide dog user Sam Heaton, the perils of taking her children to school are an everyday occurrence.

Simon Reevell MP was blindfolded and lead by a guide dog to raise awareness about guide dog issues. (D553C402)

Simon Reevell MP was blindfolded and lead by a guide dog to raise awareness about guide dog issues. (D553C402)

Sam, of Burgh Mill Lane, invited Dewsbury and Mirfield MP Simon Reevell to step into her shoes by walking part of the route she takes to Boothroyd Primary Academy each morning and afternoon.

The 34-year-old is supporting the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association’s campaign calling on the government to introduce a UK-wide law banning pavement parking unless specifically permitted.

Sam only has ten per cent vision after being diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa – a degenerative eye condition – at the age of 23.

The mother of two said the issue endangered her safety. She added: “There are 360,000 blind and partially-sighted people in the UK and 97 per cent of them say things like 
A-boards, hedges and pavement parking cause them problems.”

Several cars regularly park along Heckmondwike Road and Temple Road as parents pick up their children.

Tango, Sam’s two-year-old black Labrador / golden 
retriever cross is trained not to walk past cars on the pavement if there is not enough room for both of them to get through. “Then I have to 
step out into the road,” said Sam. “I obviously don’t want 
to do that.”

Mr Reevell walked along the school run with another guide dog, Pip. Mr Reevell said: “You realise just how courageous somebody who can’t see it just to walk out of their door.

“My message to people would be – spare a thought for people who cannot see, it’s not asking much. Parking on the pavement is dangerous for children too.”

Debbie Linford, who works for Guide dogs, said: “Pavement parking can be dangerous for pedestrians, making it difficult for parents with pushchairs, wheelchair users and other disabled people to use the pavement safely.

“Vehicles parked over dropped kerbs and crossing points are particularly dangerous , blocking access to crossings. Crossing areas are essential to blind and partially sighted people.

“In the worst cases, pavements obstructed by cars 
can stop blind and partially sighted people from leaving their homes.”

For more information, Sam has set up a Facebook group called Dewsbury Guide Dogs.