Bali, leading the way in obstacle courses for the visually impaired!

The lack of pedestrian facilities in Bali (and Indonesia in general) has been a long standing source of annoyance and frustration. This mornings walk along a major thoroughfare provided another example of just how little consideration is given to pedestrians, let alone those pedestrians with significant disabilities.

It would appear that along Sunset Road in the Kuta area, there must have been funding for footpaths to be built with the little yellow rumble strips to assist the visually impaired. I have seen people with significant visual impairments, in other Asian countries, navigate the footpaths using a walking aid (white cane), to navigate the footpaths by feeling for the ripples in the yellow raised sections.

The lead photo shows the yellow rumble strips going around a manhole cover and passing under a tree, that would require someone to be less than 60 cm high to pass safely under. Other sections are so steep as to be unsafe to use, while others are blocked with obstacles, including cement slabs and/or parked vehicles.

Indonesia in general, does not really encourage dual use of its pedestrian facilities, where they do exist, in fact pedestrians are actively discouraged from using them. Where will cars and motorcycles park if they are expected to keep footpaths free for pedestrians?

If a footpath does exist, rather than buildings taking up all space, right up to the road, they will be used by motorcycles at every opportunity for;

  • avoiding any slow in the flow of traffic
  • going the opposite way on a one way street
  • parking as close as possible to a facility or work site

The only sections of footpaths that are safe for pedestrians to use are those with no gentle run up, broken surfaces and gaping holes leading to under ground sewerage systems. On such footpaths, pedestrians do have exclusive use.

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