Calls for "hazardous" street sign ban for Wales

Blind and visually impaired people are calling on the Welsh Government to ban outdoor advertising boards on streets in Wales because they’re a safety risk.

Angharad Paget-Jones, from Port Talbot, is registered as severely sight-impaired. She has started a petition to ban so called A-boards . These are triangular signs often found outside shops or restaurants.

Miss Paget-Jones says she often trips over them and says they’re “extremely hazardous” for those with sight problems.

“We’ve already got to deal with cars parking on pavements which makes us go into the road. And if that happens and there’s an A-board then we’re just stuck” she says.

Blind people and their guide dogs are trained to walk alongside buildings but often miss objects placed in the middle of the street.

The Royal National Institute of Blind People in Wales says it supports the petition.

RNIB Cymru Campaigns Officer Kirsty James, who is also partially sighted, says 95% of people they surveyed have collided with an A-board. “If a blind or partially-sighted person is walking down the high street we need to have a clear line so we would use the side of a shop as a guide” she says.

Kirsty James

Campaigners are calling for Wales to have the same regulation as in Edinburgh, where A-boards are currently banned to improve pedestrian accessibility and safety.

But some restaurant and shop owners we talked to said it helped them advertise their business and attracted customers.

Cardiff Council currently regulates shopfront design and signage but there is no guidance on A-boards.

Nearly 100 people have already signed the petition – and if it gets enough signatures it will be put forward to the National Assembly Petitions Committee.