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Visually Impaired Riders

Old 10-17-08, 06:37 AM
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Visually Impaired Riders

I am interested in hearing from riders who have low vision and are considered legally blind.

I would like to know a little about your visual impairment and how you ride with your impairment?
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Old 10-17-08, 07:12 AM
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Do legally blind people ride other than on the back of a tandem? I guess that also raises the question of how impaired you have to be to be considered legally blind.
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Old 10-17-08, 07:31 AM
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Vision worse than 20/200 is legally blind.
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Old 10-17-08, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Taz
Vision worse than 20/200 is legally blind.
OK thanks. That number didn't mean much to me, but I looked up an online eye chart. It seems that my uncorrected vision is almost that bad, so I have a better idea of what the threshold for legally blind is.

Initially I had a hard time imagining a legally blind person riding, but I can well imagine myself riding without my glasses if correction was not a choice, which is apparently the equivalent. Sorry for taking this OT a bit.
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Old 10-17-08, 08:28 AM
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I think the vision thing is much more complicated then that.. I know a couple of guys with Macular Degeneration... They are legaly blind and can't drive but they do ride... They have lost there center vision but there periferal vision is still ok... Hard to drive a car etc using your periferal vision but they seem to do ok on a bike..
Most people seem to think blind means you can't see.. Isn't necessarily so...
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Old 10-17-08, 08:38 AM
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My former girlfriend had vision impairment, and she rode. She didn't ride like I ride, but unless it's active traffic, she can ride just fine. I have astigmatism on both eyes and can ride without glasses provided that traffic isn't moderately heavy.
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Old 10-17-08, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Taz
Vision worse than 20/200 is legally blind.
If I'm not mistaken, I believe it's 20/400. If what you're saying is true, I should be legally blind and have gotten a cane, which would be rad to carry while I ride.
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Old 10-17-08, 08:47 AM
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Yes, I agree.

Maybe what I should ask is having a visual impairment?

I have a detached retina in my left eye. And I wear a contact lens in my right eye. But my vision in not fully corrected in to the eye.
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Old 10-17-08, 11:33 AM
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I would think that definition would be vision that can't be corrected better than 20/200 or 20/400 or whatever, not just being blind as a bat without one's glasses.

Just in general, I find that poorer vision, as when riding in the dark, is cause to slow down, but not to stop. I know a couple of people that qualify as legally blind. I expect both could ride if they cared to, though they would probably be doing 8 mph and not 20 mph. They can walk around okay and stuff.
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Old 10-17-08, 01:14 PM
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I'm not "legally blind" (I don't think), but definitely have impaired vision.
My main problem is glare. I don't go outside during daylight without my dark glasses, no matter how cloudy it might be. I wear my baseball cap instead of a helmet because I can pull the visor down lower, or kind of move it down and to the side to shield the sun.
I can only ride at night on a WELL LIT bike lane. If it's not well lit, my pupils dilate too much and then oncoming headlights totally blind me. I guess they don't constrict quickly enough. On a well lit path, I can squint enough and still basically see what's in front of me.
My right eye isn't close to being correctable with my glasses. Maybe 20-100?
My family has a lot of cataracts, glaucoma etc., so I assume I have those ailments too? Since I can't afford to do anything about it, I really don't try to find out the extent of my eye [roblems.

What's your impairment? They come in a lot of different types.
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Old 10-17-08, 06:58 PM
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I have been told that Medicaly blind means no light coming through... Anything less is visually impaired or low vision.. To be legaly blind is a different animal...
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Old 10-17-08, 07:07 PM
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Toronto has a tandem club specifically for the visually impaired. If you have normal eyesight you can volunteer as a captain.

If you're not completely blind, but have quite poor vision, perhaps riding in a zero-traffic environment behind someone who serves as your eyes. Or you can ride in the velodrome if you can make out the general features. Or you can go on a bike path and go very slowly, provided you can see the boundary of the bike path and are able to see other people before you run into them.
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Old 10-18-08, 12:48 PM
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My Tandem group did a ride with Blind people as stokers a few years ago- but there were two Visually impaired riding solo's.They could see- just about but they had a minder with them that kept them informed of what was coming up ahead. They could "Vaguely make out the road and kerb and other riders- but without those instructions coming from the minder----Car parked on right- Traffic lights at red- Junction coming in from (Our left but would be your right) They would have been in trouble. They did the ride successfully but also as a sighted rider- I learnt a lot from my stoker. Those instructions from the "Minder"- were exactly what I should have been giving to my Blind Stoker.
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Old 10-18-08, 02:03 PM
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My uncorrected vision is 20/130 in my left eye and 20/20 in my right(don't play with BB guns kids!).

I can actually ride fine without my prescription glasses during the day. At night however I am SEVERELY impaired and need to ride with my glasses on.

A big factor with me being able to ride without glasses and having to drive WITH glasses is speed. In a car I can't see far enough to react in time in relation to how fast I'm going. On a bike going <20mph I can see far enough to avoid obstacles safely.
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Old 10-18-08, 03:39 PM
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I believe the definitions of "legally" blind varies somewhat. The causes of sight degradation are many and varied, as are the problems that result. I have heard it is possible in some jurisdictions, to have a driving license while legally blind....
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Old 10-20-08, 01:50 PM
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Hello, Everyone. I've had legal blindness (caused by Toxoplasmosis) ever since I was born. Until a few years ago, my visual acuity was 20/200 in both eyes. In Maine, I cannot pass a driver's test but I can ride a bicycle. A few years ago, Glaucoma developed which has changed my vision in the left eye somewhat. There is some hope in restoring the vision in my left eye to what I knew it as a few years ago as I continue under the care of an eye surgeon. However, there is no cure for legal blindness.

For years I trained with family or some sort of minder, starting first on a tandem for about 10 years. I then learned to ride the roads on a single-seat bicycle. As time went on, eyewear was invented that a visually impaired cyclist can wear that helps him/her to compensate as much as possible. One of these is the Ocutech, a prescription pair of eyeglasses with a small telescope mounted atop the carrier lenses. These eyeglasses fit under my helmet and gives me a 20/40 picture when I look through the telescope. With the use of eyewear like this, I am able to see much better both on and off the bicycle. Today, I'm able to ride independently.

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Old 10-20-08, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Taz
I have a detached retina in my left eye. And I wear a contact lens in my right eye. But my vision in not fully corrected in to the eye.
I am fully blind in my left eye due to a retina problem. I do ride a bike, but I MUST have a mirror on my left side because I cannot see peripherally on that side or when I turn my head to the left. Without a mirror, I have to turn my head to the right to see behind and to the left. I never use earphones because I rely on my hearing to help me out. Turning left can be a problem on a busy road or street. When in doubt or when traffic is heavy, I simply pull over and stop in order to cross the street.

One thing that I STRONGLY suggest to you, Taz, is that you ditch the contact in the right eye. You need GLASSES (polycarbonate with UV protection) to protect your good eye at all costs. If something were to pop up and knock you in your good eye, it would not be funny at all. Seriously, wear glasses to protect your good eye. I wear glasses all the time for that reason.

Let me know if you have any other questions. I've been riding for 25 years with one good eye (and I aim to keep that good eye for as long as possible).

Oh, and I do not ride in the dark (or drive in the dark for that matter)
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Old 10-20-08, 06:13 PM
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I suffered for about two years with a profound cataract in my left eye before getting it corrected in early 2008. It got bad enough that I actually stopped driving entirely and stayed on the bicycle.

Vision on my left side was rather spooky. Like the other responder, I had to work really hard esp when changing lanes to the left. The glasses-mounted mirror got pretty useless towards the end.

Like another responder, night vision was the worst; glare and halos would completely blind my left eiye.

Unlike many people, my eye is now better than just about any time since graduate school (I still have a lot of floaters, but hey, that's a consequence of my extreme nearsightedness).
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Old 10-20-08, 06:48 PM
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blindness

It looks like it is 20/200 or worse in the best eye.
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Old 10-23-08, 08:38 AM
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I am now legally blind. The last time that the Dr. cared to share, my corrected vision is 20/30 in the left and 20/70 in the right. It's the side vision that is bad- less than 20 degrees.

EDIT To Add: I have glaucoma. I had not been on a bike since meeting my wife 10 yrs ago (just celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary), but got a bike after the Dr. said I should give up driving. He's got no problem w/me riding, so long as I'm not trying to be the next Lance. Which means no drop bars for me...
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Old 10-23-08, 09:31 AM
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I have very minor impairment due to slightly crossed eyes, my left eye is "lazy" and therefore only serves as peripheral vision. It is basically at about 20/100 and is uncorrectable.

The major hurdle to both driving and cycling is that I lack depth perception. I live in a 2 dimensional world.

Since I grew up with the condition, and have never known differently, I have no issues except that I will misjudge corners a little more often than other people. I therefore tend to avoid riding very aggressively. I also tend to avoid riding in close quarters or riding through narrow passages.

My mind has learned to automatically compensate by looking at other cues to determine positions etc.

Ironically, when I went to see Captain Eo at Disney Land several years ago in 3D, I discovered how the rest of you actually see the world, as I can apparently see 3D with the glasses... just not in real life. I love 3 D movies... Imagine if the rest of you could go to a movie and see a 4th dimension.
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Old 10-23-08, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Little Darwin
... my left eye is "lazy" ....
I have a VERY lazy R eye. IF I don't consciously focus, it's off a good 45 degrees to the outside.
Sometimes I can have a little fun with it though!
I'll look directly at a person (when talking) and focus my dominant L eye off to the left. Then I'll "relax" and let the R eye wander off to the other side.
A lot of people can't quite figure out what's going on. Their eyes will be looking everywhere but directly at me and you can tell they're uncomfortable about "something".
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Old 09-11-16, 11:23 AM
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Macular degeneration

Well I have had macular degeneration all of my life. I am legally blind and work with the low vision community for a living. I ride a Trek fx 7.3 and tend to ride with what the roads and environment are giving me. I do ride on busy roads, but I do pay attention to traffic and cars. My biggest problem is due to glare and distance I am not always able to tell when the traffic light changes. I will either wait until I see a car going with the parallel traffic or pull over into the crosswalk and stop and wait.

I wish I could get glasses to get more distance vision, but the eye doctor says glasses will not help. So I do the best that I can. Also, I do get anxious when in heavy traffic and even fell the other day when my feet and front wheel got caught up in each other. The bike safety laws discuss taking the lane when appropriate and even getting into left turn lanes; however, it can be scary when a car pulls up behind you and does not seem to have much patience with me. Once I did not see the light change and the car behind me honked its horn. What spurred the accident is that I panicked when I saw the line of cars coming up behind me and I shifted onto the sidewalk. Sometimes I feel that I need to get out and overcome this fear to prove to myself that I have just as much right to me on the road as cars.

If anyone has any ideas to help me see the traffic lights better please let me know.
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Old 09-11-16, 01:21 PM
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The sub-forum directly below General Cycling deals with visual impairment. You are much more likely to get a good answer there. Maybe a moderator can move this post.
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Old 09-11-16, 01:53 PM
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You can try reposting here as VegasTriker suggests

Adaptive Cycling: Handcycles, Amputee Adaptation, Visual Impairment, and Other Needs - Bike Forums
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