BBC news for Kent today there has been a scheme in place since November 2008 which turned the Ashford ring road into streets allowing for drivers and pedestrians to have equal priority and under the scheme signs, traffic lights and pavements have been removed." />

Shared spaces on the roads

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There has been argument from critics who say the scheme is dangerous to blind people and David Cowdrey from Guide Dogs for the Blind agrees and says "It discriminates against blind and partially sighted people very clearly in the fact that if you are using the space properly you can't actually tell if you're on the pavement or the road."

Kent County Council report figures show a 41% drop in accidents in which people have been injured since the scheme was put in place, they say there were 61 collisions involving injuries between January 2004 and December 2006 and 36 between December 2008 and November 2011.  Although a study published by the University of West England in December said pedestrians have been avoiding crossing in the shared area implying this could of course account for the reduction.

There is a similar scheme in the High Street, Southampton between Guildhall Square and the Parks.  I have not been in this area for some time and when I recently found myself in this area, I believed it to be a pedestrian only area as there was nothing obvious to say otherwise.  On sauntering into along I was nearly run over by a bus hurtling along which shared the area with pedestrians.  If similar schemes are to be put in place there should be much more publicity and signage as I believe the scheme is a potential death-trap.

Julie Donovan

Senior Legal Executive - Personal Injury team

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