Local government has been told that the needs of disabled motorists should be borne in mind during implementation of the Active Travel (Wales) Act.
Disability Wales, representing disability groups across Wales, told Rhondda Cynon Taf CBC: ‘Local authority planners must recognise that private car use is essential to enable disabled people to live independently in the community.
Any proposed route design implementation must not impede on private car use by local disabled people.’ It also said that shared space layouts were a ‘great concern to disabled people and other vulnerable pedestrians’.
Rhyan Berrigan, transport policy officer at Disability Wales, told Transport Network that active travel provision could impede disabled motorists if roads were blocked by traffic calming measures, parking spaces were removed or one-way systems were introduced. ‘Even pedestrianising town centres excludes disabled people who use cars to enjoy the high street shopping experience. Active travel is positive, as it encourages healthy lifestyles. However, one must be mindful that not everyone can walk or cycle, therefore disabled motorists who rely on cars must not be made to feel like second-class citizens.’
Responding to RCT’s consultation on existing provision, Disability Wales suggested design features which would encourage disabled people to use active travel routes such as lighting, gentle gradients and enough seating to allow frequent breaks. Designs should allow for the larger turning circles of adapted cycles such as tricycles and hand cycles.
Welsh unitary authorities must submit their maps of existing active travel routes to the Welsh Government by Friday (January 22).