Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Can Someone Explain This To Me?

This picture was taken in Boise, ID a month or so ago.

If you look closely you will notice that on the street corner closest to me, there is a blind man waiting for permission from the crosswalk light in order to cross the street. You can't see from this angle, but it seemed he was truly blind.

I've used a number of crosswalks in my day and I don't recall any sort of sound associated with the little neon man that signals the all clear. Am I missing something? Is there something that notifies blind individuals that it's okay to cross? I mean they can't just listen for the cars and make a run for it. I think there's something to this. I just don't know what it is.



Mom said...

I think the person on the other side was yelling, "go, no stop, ok now, no wait." He just didn't know what to do!!!

Samantha said...

They don't have to wait for the signal change as their only indicator of a change is THE SOUND OF traffic... legally they can walk whenever they "need" to (ie pause in traffic)


Yes they have audio signals.... usually not at this small of an intersection though. It appears he is ready to cross and it is by way of hearing and residual vision if any..

When visually impaired people approaching a lighted intersection with no audio they push the traffic light crossing button then listen for traffic pattern through at least one cycle. They push button again and listen for right turning cars then walk when safe.

When there is an audio signal, some produce a beeping sound so the blind person knows what kind of signal it is. Once the button is pushed it can say different things depending on the type - ie "walk now" when it's safe. The source across the street will produce a beep so it will be easy to locate the destination -- some will countdown.

Just think... every time a blind person needs to go a different route they need, someone has to come out and teach them how to travel the route safely.

Also notice that there are no truncated dome safety strips (those little "mats" at some corners) at this intersection... those let the blind person know that they are really close to the edge of the street....

Also imagine how difficult it is to teach them how to align themselves in order to cross straight.