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Hate crime reported after cyclist barges blind man between The Paddocks and Newton Street in Newark

A blind man says pavements are becoming dangerous for the public, especially for those who are visually impaired.

Dr Paul Jarman, of Newark, has been blind since birth and finds the shared pavement space between cyclists and pedestrians ridiculous.

Paul and his guide dog, Poppie (50621171)
Paul and his guide dog, Poppie (50621171)

Dr Jarman was walking with his guide dog, Poppie, and listening to traffic on London Road between The Paddocks and Newton Street in Newark when a cyclist yelled at him and cycled into his side, cutting his arm with the bike.

Dr Jarman said: “A cyclist crossed The Paddocks coming towards me, deliberately hit my right arm, cutting it just above the wrist, and screamed ‘you’re in the cycle lane, get out.’

“There is absolutely no way that this was anything other than a deliberate act of aggression.

Paul's guide dog, Poppie (50621155)
Paul's guide dog, Poppie (50621155)

“Ahead of me at that point was the long slope from the bridge off the Sustrans track, which meant that the cyclist would have had a clear view of me for a hundred metres and more, added to which, his scream as he went past confirms his intention of committing an aggressive act.”

The pavement on London Road is shared use between pedestrians and a cycle lane, but there is no demarcation between the two other than a painted white line, meaning blind people have no way of knowing which section they are on.

Dr Jarman reported the incident as a hate crime when he got home and was visited by a Police Community Support Officer who took details of the incident.

Gary Wood, head of highways and transport at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “We are sorry to hear about the incident reported by a pedestrian on London Road, Newark.

“The Highway Code sets out guidance for cyclists and pedestrians using shared and segregated paths, in particular stating that cyclists should take extra care and give plenty of room to children, the elderly and disabled people, while always riding at a speed that would allow them to slow down and stop if necessary.

“We would like to remind cyclists that pedestrians have priority over other highway users, including cyclists, and that they should ride considerately, particularly around vulnerable pedestrians.”

Dr Jarman said he increasingly felt like Newark was a town unfriendly towards dogs and council policies branded all owners the same. Something, he said, had to change.

David Lloyd, leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “Nottinghamshire County Council are responsible for pathways and roads across the district and I will relay information on this incident to them.

“Nevertheless, we take hate crime seriously and if any person is aware of this happening then they should report this to Nottinghamshire Police. Roads and pavements are shared by many different people, some of whom have disabilities and impairments, especially when sharing pavements, we all have a responsibility and duty of care to each other and our safety.”

Dr Jarman feels pavements in the UK are becoming increasingly dangerous, and more and more incidents involving guide dog owners and e-scooters are being reported.

He said: “My first response to this incident is that these arrangements whereby pedestrians and cyclists share a pavement space are ridiculous and point to very poor town planning; the pavement at that point on the London Road is very wide, and without question, some of it should be taken away in order to put the cycle lane on to the road itself.”

“If this can’t be done, then a very clear demarcation between pedestrians and cyclists is urgently required, a small raised barrier of some sort, something which both visually-impaired individuals and dogs can recognise.”

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