A BLIND woman is calling for action to be taken over parking on pavements after she was knocked down by a lorry because she couldn’t walk on the footpath.

Ellen Bassani, 64, of Norreys Avenue, suffered severe injuries to her ribs when she was hit by the vehicle in May while trying to make her way up Sunningwell Road.

She said she has no option but to walk up the middle of the road because cars and other street furniture make it impossible for her to stay on the pavement.

She said: “I was going into Sunningwell Road, I walked down the middle of the road due to access problems. I came around the corner and I heard a vehicle idling.

“I was in the middle of the road and tried to get to the side of the road. I had to use a stick to find a gap between the cars (to get onto the pavement) when the truck hit me. I thought it was idling, in fact it was reversing and it knocked me off my feet.

“Everyone told me I should go to the hospital but I chose not to and five hours later I rang NHS Direct and they sent the ambulance and they were great.

“My blood pressure was astronomical. They checked me over and to see if I had broken ribs.

“They waited with me until my blood pressure came down and they rang the emergency doctor, he suggested I take some blood pressure pills.

“I am not sure I have quite recovered to be honest. Physically it took about five weeks to recover but I am still haunted by noises.

“I had such confidence in my abilities to judge but I thought the truck was idling and it was actually moving.”

Mrs Bassani, who moved to Oxford from Queensland, Australia, 34 years ago, said cars parked on pavements and wheely bins left out were not just a problem for blind people.

She said: “It is not just the disabled community, it is people with mobility issues and young children. People are just not thinking, that’s the problem.

“I don’t know how it came about but in Lake Street, for some reason, they have agreed to park on the footpaths on the left side so the right footpath is always clear. I think this is something on these Oxford streets which they should adopt.

“I do understand drivers are concerned about cars being damaged, this would be a good compromise.”

Oxfordshire county councillor John Tanner said he was aware of the problem and encouraged residents to be more considerate.

He said: “I think it is very important that people do not obstruct each other’s movement on pavements.

“Rather than introducing new rules we should all think: ‘What if it were me who were in a wheelchair or blind or had other problems?’ “I think it is a problem all over Oxford and I think pedestrians are being pushed into a corner.

“I would like to see much more priority for pedestrians, particularly those with a disability.”

Ms Bassani said the incident had hurt her physically, but had also shaken her confidence.

She said: “I had very severe injuries to my ribs but the thing that really damaged me was a real kick to my confidence.’’


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