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Pedestrian crossing vandals put lives of blind and deaf at risk

Vandals have put the safety of the blind and deaf at risk after pedestrian-controlled crossing were damaged (Photograph supplied)

A charity for the blind yesterday hit out after vandals damaged more than 20 pedestrian-controlled crossings in Hamilton – an action the city engineer warned had put lives at risk.

Theresa Hall, the executive director of Vision Bermuda, agreed the vandalism was “extremely dangerous” to people with sight problems, as well as those with impaired hearing.

Ms Hall said the widespread damage was “reckless” and “incredible”.

Ms Hall said: “Quite literally, our clients rely on the audio and visual options at these lights to safely cross roads.

“The Corporation of Hamilton has recently redone the whole network of traffic light to put in these buttons.

“As an organisation, Vision Bermuda was involved and working with the Corporation to help make our crossings safer.

“We are very distressed that they have been vandalised.”

Patrick Cooper, the city engineer, explained the targeted pedestrian crossings had been fitted with distinctive metal cones with ridges just below the buttons used to activate them.

The cones spun to alert users when it was safe to cross the road.

Mr Cooper added: “The parts have no real monetary value, so we can think of no other reason why someone would do this other than to be destructive.

“These cones are a source of independence for visually impaired or blind people that cannot be underestimated and a vital lifeline for some of the island’s most vulnerable people.

“We want to implore whoever is doing this to stop – and know that they are endangering lives by their actions.”

Mr Cooper said the removal of the cones was spotted by a technician this week.

The cones have been used on pedestrian-controlled crossings in the UK since the late 1980s and give the same information as the traditional beeping signal.

The City of Hamilton appealed to the public to report vandalism, or the identity of the vandals, to police on 295-0011 or to City Hall on 292 1234.

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Published September 22, 2021 at 7:58 am (Updated September 22, 2021 at 7:58 am)

Pedestrian crossing vandals put lives of blind and deaf at risk

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