Can we fix it? ‘Beep’ signal for traffic lights

The young people pictured at the crossing in question. INBM07-14
The young people pictured at the crossing in question. INBM07-14

A group of young people with learning disabilities are campaigning to make a road crossing safer for them in Ballymoney.

The group have enlisted the help of Fixers - the campaign that gives young people a voice - to make their case.

Ursula Campbell is one campaigner who wants to see improvements made to the traffic light system at a busy intersection the group use to get into town.

They feel an audible beeping signal would make it easier for those with visual and sensory impairments to negotiate the congested crossing.

“Sometimes it can be quite nerve wrecking if it is really busy,” she said.

“This is our main route into the main town - there’s four sets of traffic lights; the traffic’s rushing and everyone else is rushing and it can be quite difficult to get across the road,” she explained.

“Some of our users have difficulty because they are partially-sighted and colour blind so they can’t tell the difference between the green man and the red man.

“At the moment they find it quite stressful because they don’t really understand which light is which. There are so many different sets of lights.

“Someone might get run over.”

Tina Campbell from the RNIB said that this is an important issue for those with disabilities, as if they are concerned about safety, the route could be “very daunting”.

“Just imagine yourself if you were blindfolded just to go out and try what’s it like to be blind, trying to work out where’s the best place or safe place to cross over - it’s scary,” she said.

In an effort to move their campaign forward, the Fixers arranged a meeting with Jackson Minford from the Roads Service.

He said he was happy there was a safe crossing in the area at the moment but added he would be happy to come down and see for himself how the group negotiate the junction.

“And if there’s anything else we can do to put in place to make it safer, or offer advice, we’ll do that,” he told them.

Speaking after, Ursula added: “I hope that they will eventually put the bleeps in.

“For my friends that are partially-sighted it would make a difference because they would be able to go up the street independently and do all the normal things that people take for granted.

“I hope that they listen and do what we’ve asked as it would make a huge difference to all our lives.”