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No safe crossing

EMMA WHITTAKER
Last updated 05:00 26/02/2014
Dean Hamilton
Emma Whittaker

CAUTIOUS APPROACH: Dean Hamilton wants drivers to take more care at pedestrian crossings. He is legally blind and has been hit by cars twice at the crossing in Sandringham.

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Please be patient.

That's the message from a blind man who has been hit twice by cars and suffered torrents of abuse from drivers in a hurry to get through a pedestrian crossing.

Dean Hamilton was hospitalised with bruising, gravel rash and a cut on his head after the first collision on the pedestrian crossing at the Sandringham shops in 2012.

He's been hit twice while trying to cross outside the Sandringham Liquor Centre in the last 18 months and has also had his fair share of frightening near misses.

"I've been abused because I'm taking so long to go across," he says.

"It's usually in the mornings when people are in a hurry. If you see someone waiting at a crossing, then stop and just wait.

"It's not only me. Kids won't wait to cross, they'll just walk out."

Mr Hamilton's vision has deteriorated over 15 years because of his diabetes.

He makes the trip from his Euston Rd home to the shops daily for breakfast so he doesn't have to prepare it at home.

There is a second crossing nearby at 515 Sandringham Rd which is also proving to be a problem, he says.

Textured paving tells Mr Hamilton when he is at the edge of the crossing. He listens to know when the traffic has stopped and it is safe to cross.

"Because it takes a bit of time for me to decide if the traffic has stopped, drivers get frustrated and proceed anyway."

Mr Hamilton has a carer for two hours a day but was alone when he was hit.

The carer sometimes walks with him and has occasionally had to pull him back off the road at the last minute to save him from being knocked over, he says.

Getting the confidence to leave the house has been an effort and he generally stayed inside before getting intensive help from the Blind Foundation.

"Rather than ask for help I would stay at home or go without."

Modifications made to one of the crossings by Auckland Transport have made him feel safer and there are now barriers protecting pedestrians waiting in the middle of the road.

Auckland Transport is not aware of any other incidents of pedestrians being injured on the stretch of road in the last two years, a spokesman says - but the barriers put up on the pedestrian refuge have been damaged by cars.

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- Central Leader

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