What is Make Way Day?
What is Make Way Day?
Make Way Day is a national awareness campaign which aims to educate and inform the public of the obstacles which have been inadvertently placed in the way of people with disabilities. These obstacles create significant difficulties for people with disabilities when attempting to negotiate their way through towns and cities.
This is the 5th year of this award-winning campaign and has the support of the disability sector, all 31 Councils in Ireland, the Garda, Electric Ireland and this year the campaign will be launched by President Higgins.
Obstacles such as Parked cars on footpaths, Overgrown hedges, Bicycles chained to poles or railings and Wheelie bins that are blocking the path have significant impact on people with disabilities lives. Make Way Day addresses these issue by positively educating members of the public on how everyday actions such as leaving wheelie bins on the path have an impact.
Make Way Day gives us pause to think about people who can’t step around a van, bin or bike. These obstacles force people with disabilities out onto busy roads, putting their lives at risk. When it forces a wheelchair user or visually impaired person to retreat to their home it creates a less immediate but no less serious hazard of isolation and exclusion.
Disability campaigner Barry O’Donnell, explained about the number one hazard: “As a person who is blind, I am no stranger to walking into cars and indeed vans blocking footpaths.
A quiet word with neighbours has worked wonders but I never know when I will walk into a car injuring my head, knee or shins.
For wheelchair users, the elderly, parents with buggies and children, having to navigate around a car/van blocking the footpath unnecessarily puts them on the road where there would be a blind spot to road users putting pedestrians in danger.
As one person put it” Navigating cars and obstacles has caused me to lose my orientation and to end up in the middle of busy roads.”
These powerful, simple messages encourage everyone to give further thought and consideration for people with disabilities when going about their own daily lives.