From left, Genene Henshaw, Krystyna Jenkinson, Gordon Stewart and Gill Southgate. Picture: Tony Jones.

Members of West Norfolk’s blind and partially-sighted community are urging cyclists to take more care around pedestrians.

King’s Lynn and District Guide Dog Forum has spoken of growing fears for the safety of guide dogs and their owners on West Norfolk’s pavements.

The warning follows a number of upsetting incidents and near-misses when dogs have been taken by surprise.

But problems in the town centres do not only involve cyclists.

Forum member Krystyna Jenkinson was herself knocked over by a mobility scooter.

She is keen to make people aware of the devastating impact any injury to a guide dog would have.

“People are in such a hurry these days. But if the dog was to get hurt it would affect the owner physically and psychologically.

“And it costs a lot of money to get a trained guide dog,” she said.

Forum member Gordon Stewart said he would rather get hurt himself than his guide dog, Jandy.

“If anything happened to Jandy I would be unable to go out,” he said.

Mr Stewart said he often felt vulnerable walking down Wootton Road in Lynn.

“I’m a big bloke, but I feel scared when I hear a cycle suddenly coming behind me and I can’t see it. If my dog jumps, then I jump.

“The kids come out in swarms from school and they don’t slow down and their handle bars have caught me several times.

“I would like to ask if people could give us plenty of room and slow down.

“I don’t want to change the law but I want to make people aware we cannot see cyclists on the pavement.”

Another member Genene Henshaw, said she was walking home from Gaywood library when a group of four boys cycled towards her.

She said one was so close they brushed shoulders and the youngster fell off his bike.

Gill Southgate, a co-ordinator of the forum, which campaigns for changes to improve the lives of the blind  and partially-sighted, said adults also needed to be more considerate.

“We have problems in Lynn town centre and Gayton Road and Wootton Road.

“If people could ring their bell on their cycle or shout us they are coming through, it would really help. People just don’t think.”

West Norfolk Mayor David Whitby is backing the forum after he recently joined members for a blindfolded walk around Lynn town centre to discover first-hand the challenges which face those with sight problems.

He said the walk made him realise more could be done to make life easier.

Mr Whitby said: “It was very disorientating. I was listening more intently and working out what the noises were.

“It has given me great admiration for the people who cope with these disabilities every day and has made me realise that more could be done to make life easier for blind and partially-sighted people.”