White Cane Awareness Month

The white cane is a symbol of independence and blindness.  The white cane allows an Individual who is legally blind to travel independently.  In 1931, the Lions Club began promoting the use of white canes for people who are blind as a national identification program.

International White Cane Day is October 15.  All states and many other countries have White Cane laws, which allow pedestrians, who are legally blind, the right of way at street crossings.  Most people who are legally blind have some usable vision.

When in doubt, ask if the person needs assistance.

Do not grab the person, cane or dog guide!

Do not pet a dog guide.  Most dog guides are working & should not be petted since it can be distracting for the dog.

Massachusetts White Cane Law states that All motorists, when they see a pedestrian who uses a dog guide or a white cane at a street crossing, must come to a complete stop.

Top Ten List of DON’Ts

For Motorists When They See a Pedestrian

Using a White Cane or Dog Guide at Street Crossings

(Adapted from “The Ten List of What Motorists Shouldn’t Do When They See A Blind Person” by James Hazard & Kathy Zelaya info@oandm.org 1998)

10. Don’t stop your car more than five feet from the crosswalk line.

9. Don’t yell out “it’s OK to cross”.

8. Don’t get impatient when waiting for pedestrian who is visually impaired to cross. If the pedestrian places the long cane into the street, it usually indicates he or she will begin a street crossing.  If the cane traveler takes a step back & pulls back the cane from the curb, it usually indicates the person will not be crossing at that time.

7. Don’t consider a “rolling” stop as a complete stop. A stop sign means STOP!

6. Don’t turn right on red without coming to a full stop and looking for pedestrians. The Right on Red Law requires drivers to come to a complete stop prior to making right turn.

5. Don’t fail to stop for pedestrians at all crosswalks whether or not there is a traffic signal or stop sign. Come to a full stop.

4. Don’t stop your car in the middle of the crosswalk.

3. Don’t pass another car, stopped, waiting for pedestrians to cross the street.

2. Don’t wave to pedestrians who are using a white cane or dog guide to indicate that you are waiting for them to cross. They CAN NOT see you.

1. Don’t honk!

Massachusetts White Cane Law: All motorists, when they see a pedestrian who uses a dog guide or a white cane at a street crossing, must come to a complete stop.

White-Cane-Safety-Day

International White Cane Day

Celebrate the independence of white canes and raise public awareness of the White Cane Law!

October 13, 2015
State House, Boston MA
10-Noon-Grand Hall

Show Your Independence!

White Cane & Guide Dog Users Bring Family, Friends, Orientation & Mobility Specialists, Vision Professionals and Others to raise White Cane Awareness!

For more information on this Celebration, contact the Orientation and Mobility

Department at the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind

617-626-7581 or 800-392-6450 x 7581

Source: Department at the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind