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Lack of tactile paving ‘a factor’ in death of visually impaired man

23 February 2021

A lack of tactile paving was a contributing factor to the death of Cleveland Gervais, a partially sighted man who died after falling from the platform on to the track at Eden Park station, London, in February last year.

A report by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) found that around half of mainline railway stations do not have tactile paving, which can alert visually impaired people that they are close to a platform edge or kerb, and up to 15% of accidents where people fall on to the track involve blind or partially sighted people.

Stephen Brookes, DR UK Rail Policy Adviser said: “DR UK has been pressing upon the rail companies and train operators that safety is of paramount importance when they apply arrangements and facilities needed to provide accessibility for all Disabled passengers.

“This incident demonstrates that there appears to be no consistent policy on the provision of tactile strips, despite their clear importance to visually impaired people who value the opportunity to travel independently, without reliance on staff. Lives cannot be put at risk by having to wait until such stations are fully refurbished to install tactile strips. The fact that 40% of stations have no tactile markings is putting people’s lives at risk and there needs to be an emergency plan to put this right.”

Further information on railway stations can be found on the RNIB website. Its petition can be found here: http://rnib.in/railway