White Cane Safety Day began in 1964 when Congress adopted a joint resolution to not only designate October 15th as White Cane Safety Day but also recognize and celebrate the achievements of people who are blind or vision impaired and the white cane as a tool for independence. The white cane gives people who are blind the freedom to move throughout their day, getting from one place to another safely and independently.
What does the white cane mean for someone who is blind?
The white cane gives a person information about the type of surface they are walking on, such as brick walkways, cement sidewalks, or cobblestone. This allows the user to watch their footing and walk appropriately for each surface. It also helps them to find curbs and doorways and to be aware of obstructions such as fire hydrants or other people. Using a white cane for mobility does take training and practice. Working with an Orientation and Mobility Specialist will help someone to use the white cane appropriately and effectively.
What does the white cane mean for someone who is sighted?
It alerts motorists and cyclists to take extra precautions when pedestrians using a white cane are crossing the street and to give the person with a cane the right of way. When you see someone using a white cane give extra space, allowing the person to gain information about their surroundings and avoid obstacles. Remember, you do not need to shout out instructions or try to guide them, the white cane is keeping them on track and allowing them to travel freely.
Want to learn more about White Cane Safety Day and ways to celebrate? Check out the National Federation of the Blind.Oct 02, 2020