A walk through Bideford has highlighted the dangers of advertising A-boards for blind and partially sighted people.

Councillors and residents in Bideford discovered what it was like to walk down the street like a visually impaired person during an event with the RNIB. Picture: Tony GussinCouncillors and residents in Bideford discovered what it was like to walk down the street like a visually impaired person during an event with the RNIB. Picture: Tony Gussin

Local councillors Linda Hellyer, James Craigie and Jude Gubb were joined by Steve Hyde from the RNIB, who equipped them with white canes and special goggles that simulate the effect of a number of sight-limiting conditions.

They were also joined by residents including partially sighted veteran Cameron Kennedy, who on a walk through Bideford's town centre shopping areas with County Councillor Linda Hellyer counted a total of 77 dangerous A-boards.

If the advertising boards are not tight to shop fronts they can become trip hazards for people with sight issues and RNIB research has shown that half of blind or partially sighted people had collided with an advertising board across a three month period.

The Bideford visit was intended to highlight the RNIB Who Put That There campaign to raise awareness and encourage business owners to place their signs in safer locations.

Councillors and residents in Bideford discovered what it was like to walk down the street like a visually impaired person during an event with the RNIB. Picture: Tony GussinCouncillors and residents in Bideford discovered what it was like to walk down the street like a visually impaired person during an event with the RNIB. Picture: Tony Gussin

Mrs Hellyer said she had been contacted by Mr Kennedy to raise awareness of the A-board problem in Bideford.

She said: "Until you experience it for yourself you don't think about it.

"I would urge people just to think where they put their A-boards, to comply with the Devon County Council policy to keep them by their building and not to have them right by their doorway either, where people can trip on them.

"The argument would be if we could have an enforcement officer and the money to fund them would be raised from the fines they could issue.

"But it would be good if we could get people to comply through education rather than having to fine them."

Mr Hyde, who is regional campaigns officer for the RNIB, said A-boards were a national problem. He said: "At the moment we know there are just so many visually impaired people around and the numbers are increasing.

"It is things like the A-boards right out in the middle which cause an issue."

Mr Hyde said Exeter now had a Clear Streets Charter, which had been signed off by county council leader John Hart and he hoped Bideford might be able to do something similar.