The Blind Person Rule

One of the rules I try to enforce in our household is to not have anything on the floor where someone – mostly likely, me – might trip over it at night, when the lights are out. Makes sense, right? I have tried to apply that idea to my sidewalk and walkways. No unnecessary debris, such as branches. It is obvious, however, that not everyone shares my zeal.

I may have told this story before, but, years later, it still irritates me. Some time in the past decade, a blind man was walking across Madison Avenue in Albany from the corner nearest the police station to the corner where the Bruegger’s bagel shop was/is located. He was doing fine until he almost walked into a car that had totally blocked the crosswalk. The driver of the car, as you might guess, was inside the Bruegger’s picking up some food. I’m sure he was thinking, “I’ll only be a minute.” But it was disruptive to the pedestrian, who felt his way around the car and finally made his way to the sidewalk. And it was frustrating to me, who was far enough up North Allen that I could not help him, or even yell to him coherently.

I was also roiled because there was a real parking spot about three car lengths away. Moving there was obviously too onerous for the driver to do. Unfortunately, he drove away before either seeing the disruption he caused or before I could reach him to (probably unkindly) inform him of his bête noire.

Another source of irritation occurs when one of my neighbors parks his car so that it totally blocks the sidewalk, forcing one to either walk in the street or squeeze between this car and the other car in the driveway. This has happened more than once. This situation could have avoided if the first car in the driveway had pulled in farther. The problem is amplified when there are snowbanks on the grass, especially when trying to use a shopping cart. This is frustrating for a sighted person; imagine how much more frustrating it would be to one who is not.

So keep your walkways free of debris, ice, snow, and vehicles. That includes bicycles, such as the one I saw lying in the middle of the sidewalk in front of a food establishment on Lark Street a while back. Think about how you would fare there if you could not see.

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3 thoughts on “The Blind Person Rule

  1. Absolutely right. I haven’t worked out whether people don’t recognise the inconvenience they cause others or if it’s an erosion of basic good manners. My own pet hate are those drivers who park in spaces reserved for people with disabilities when clearly they aren’t.

  2. It’s funny that people would never block the road at all but see no problem blocking sidewalks completely, as though the part of the sidewalk in front of their house was an extra porch.

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