Partially-sighted woman ‘shaken’ and injured after cyclist collided with her white cane in Highbury

Deborah Persaud's white cain was broken after she was involved in a collision with a cyclist. Pictur

Deborah Persaud's white cain was broken after she was involved in a collision with a cyclist. Picture: Deborah Persaud - Credit: Archant

A partially-sighted pedestrian was left injured and “shaken” after a cyclist collided with her white cane in Highbury this morning.

Deborah Persaud, of Newington Green, was navigating the pedestrian crossing from Highbury Place towards Highbury & Islington Station when she claims a cyclist cut across the pavement before colliding with her stick.

Deborah, who is severely visually impaired, had to go to A&E at the Homerton Hospital for a sprained wrist caused by the incident.

Deborah told the Gazette: "I held onto the signal box and waited for the green box and crossed and got most of the way to the other side, and got hit by a cyclist coming the other way. It was terrifying. I have a nasty, sprained wrist and my cane is destroyed. [...] According to witnesses it caught my cane between the wheels and ripped it out of my hand, which is why I have a sprained wrist. So I don't think he actually hit me but he cold have quite easily. My cane shattered, that could have been my leg."

The cyclist stopped at the scene and no one has been arrested.

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She added: "I'm still shaken up. I'm really angry about it because I have been complaining to the council for months about that layout [at the recently revamped Highbury Corner]."

Deborah added: "I have made representations to Islington Council and TfL asking them to do a proper visual impact assessment and review the layout at Highbury Corner and introduce physical barriers to stop cyclists coming into contact with pedestrians and keep pedestrians safe. There's a long-list of issues with the new layout, Islington Council has said it's supposed to be safer for cyclists but now it's more dangerous for pedestrians."

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Cllr Caroline Russell (Green, Highbury East) said: "It's not so much that the design of the scheme is wrong but it's enabling inconsiderate dangerous behaviour, as demonstrated this morning. TfL needs to get some people down there to see what's going on and advise people who are riding bikes across the footway to stop. We need streets that are inclusive for everyone, that people who are blind or partially-sighted can navigate safely without fear."

Nigel Hardy, TfL's head of healthy streets investment and delivery, said: "We're saddened to hear of this worrying incident at Highbury Corner. Safety is our top priority which is why we're working hard to reduce the unacceptably high number of people injured on our streets.

"We've worked closely with Islington Council to transform Highbury Corner into a space where people can walk, cycle and travel safely. We continue to monitor the junction as Londoners get used to the new layout and call on all road users to ensure they're following the rules of the road."

Islington Council's transport and environment chief Cllr Rowena Champion said: "I'm very concerned to hear what has happened to Ms Persaud. It is completely unacceptable for cyclists to mount the curb and cycle on the pavement, putting pedestrians at risk.

"I met with Ms Persaud recently, along with council transport officers and representatives from Transport for London, to discuss pedestrian safety at Highbury Corner and tackle dangerous and illegal cycling behaviour. As a matter of urgency, the council will work with TfL and the police to educate cyclists and, where needed, take enforcement action against illegal cycling through the new pedestrian spaces at Highbury Corner."

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