Finding focus in a blurry world…
In 1921, James Biggs, a photographer from Bristol, England, became blind following an accident. Because he was feeling uncomfortable with the amount of traffic around his home, he painted his walking stick white to be more easily visible. In 1930, the late George A. Bonham, President of the Peoria Lions Club (Illinois) introduced the idea of using the white cane with a red band as a means of assisting the blind in independent mobility. The Peoria Lions approved the idea, white canes were made and distributed, and the Peoria City Council adopted an ordinance giving the bearers the right-of-way to cross the street.
News of the club’s activity spread quickly to other Lions clubs throughout the United States, and their visually handicapped friends experimented with the white canes. Overwhelming acceptance of the white cane idea by the blind and sighted alike quickly gave cane users a unique method of identifying their special need for travel consideration among their sighted counterparts. Also in 1931, in France, Guilly d’Herbemont recognized the danger to blind people in traffic and launched a national “white stick movement” for blind people. She donated 5,000 white canes to people in Paris.
Today white cane laws are on the books of EVERY STATE in the US and many other countries, providing blind persons a legal status in traffic. The white cane now universally acknowledges that the bearer is blind. For specific information contact your local government office for motor vehicles.
White Cane Safety Days:
To make the American people more fully aware of the meaning of the white cane and of the need for motorists to exercise special care for the blind person who carries it, on October 6, 1964, the U.S. Congress approved a resolution authorizing the President of the US to annually issue a proclamation designating October 15th as “National White Cane Safety Day.”
The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), a leading organization for the blind, has established the third week in May as “White Cane Week.” During this week, a special concentration of efforts to educate the public concerning the hopes and aspirations of the blind is emphasized.
It should be noted White Cane Law, also extends to all persons with a Guide or Service Dog as well. Please respect the White Cane Law and what it means. Don’t be a jerk!
Possibly Related Posts:
Wow, sorry… I know it has been some time since I updated my blog about my Orientation and Mobility training. Maybe some of you thought I quit or, perhaps got run over by the bus, no I’m still here. In fact I’ve been very busy with O&M over the past few weeks.
I’ve successfully used our local SEPTA to travel with Elaine and just recently by my self (to meet Elaine) to the Norristown Transportation Center (NTC), the main hub for SEPTA and other connecting buses and trains in our area.
I’ve also rode SEPTA more recently to visit one of my favorite places the Apple Store at King of Prussia Mall. This trip involves one transfer, and takes about one hour and twenty minutes by bus. Let this be said bus travel is not fast. To drive to King of Prussia Mall from my house would take a normal person about 45-minutes.
Reading and understanding bus schedules has been a bit of a challenge for me, not for the fact I don’t know how… but simply because I am a literal person. Bus routes don’t provide intermediate times only times for main stops. Since I am in-between, I find waiting nerve-wracking. If I know something is to be here at X time, it had better be here! – I hate that! 9:30 means 9:30, not 9:45…
Most people wonder how a blind person rides a bus, or knows what bus they are getting on. The simple answer is, we ask. Since I can’t always read the bus sign we always ask the driver “are you going to…” it’s always important to ask where your going, because though a bus may be heading the same direction, it may not be the bus you want.
SEPTA also provides a visually impaired riders kit, or “flag” as some would call it. It’s a little set of cards, and a holder with numbers and letters (large) and also marked in braille. You insert the cards into the holder to indicate your desired bus or train. You hold this at the bus stop to “flag” the driver, they are trained to look for this, and assist you.
Most newer city buses and trains also automatically announce the bus number and destination the bus or train is going to as you get on. “Welcome to SEPTA Route 93, service to Norristown”. – kind of cool eh?
In all my experience in riding local SEPTA has not been a bad one. The drivers seem nice, but are not overly friendly… just the ‘it’s a job’… kind of deal. But they take your questions well and make sure you get a seat. As a disabled person, I always get the seat right behind the driver or across from them.
The characters you meet on the bus are a whole different story. Any thing from your local businessman to your local bum, grandma and grandpa, to mom and dad, and let us not forget the ladies of ill-repute… we got’em all… But I’ll save that for another story.
Did I mention R93 is the bus that passes threw Norristown State Corrections? Do I have your attention?
Needless to say I’m still uncomfortable riding, and transferring. Norristown Transportation Center is big, and it would be easy to get on the wrong bus. But thankfully I can read the bus-stall signs when I’m right on top of them.
Not a comfortable traveler yet… but moving along well…
Possibly Related Posts:
I really did want to come up with a wittier name for this post, but it is what it is… And today’s lesson was all about intersections controlled with stoplights.
We where at the same area we use last time, and made our way to the intersection I had stopped at before. Elain explained to me that there are two different types of stoplights. One is called a Variable Timed, and the other Fixed Time. You can guess by their names, it’s really simple.
A variable timed intersection is controlled by a stoplight with an embedded pressure plate or wiring that a car rolls over to control the amount of time the light will stay green on the next cycle. – You can usually see the wires or plate in the roadway. A fixed time intersection has a set interval of red to green cycles that will not change… Simple.
Did you know most traffic lights and cross walk lights timing are based on the fact humans walk about 5-feet-per-second? The wider the street, technically the longer the light will stay green, or walk light will stay on. Did you know that on a variable timed intersection, most lights will add about 3-seconds to the light cycle for each car in the line, most times with a maximum up to three cars deep? (That’s about 9 or 10-seconds.)
Man, it turns out mobility instructors really know their stuff!
So any way… We approached and surveyed the intersection. We determined it was a variable timed intersection; the main street cycle was about 30-seconds, and the side street was about 15-seconds. We noted stoplight pedestrian buttons and we talked about there use. Remember to use them when cars are rolling, so they interrupt the cycle; but remember, some may not work, (in our case one was broken).
The button facing into you is used to control that light crossing the street that you are facing, the button should never be behind you, if so, it’s likely not for that street.
We hit the button, lined up, and waited for the light to change. Here it comes, lights green, check left, center, right, all clear, and go! Always noting the danger point and crossing traffic, many intersections, it’s the middle of the cross walk where you could have cars turn in front of you, particularly if a stopped car is to your left.
Not bad, we made it… and now… we do it again! We continued this way making circles around the intersection when it was the proper time to cross; it must have looked funny, because we looped the intersection clockwise about a half-dozen times.
We talked about the dangerous turn-on-red that so many drivers like to do, even though some (a lot) like to ignore the no-turn-on-red signs. She reminded me that pedestrians still have the right-of-way at crossings, and if a car is at a stop, it’s unlikely they will turn on you. – But I still take little comfort in that. This is part of the huge anxiety of street crossings that gets to me. But the only way to get over this fear is to do more street crossings.
So drivers, please put down your cell phone, stop putting on your makeup, don’t pass stopped cars and pay more attention at intersections. Pedestrians have the right-of-way at cross walks, and persons with a white cane or service dog have even more! If you’d just pay attention, the road would be much safer for all of us!
If you blow your horn at me, and flip me the finger… I’m likely to cane your car, you ungrateful 4-wheeled little bastard. – Road rage, blind man style! – I didn’t say that, I deny everything! I didn’t see your car, I swear!
Next week Elaine says we’re going to play in more traffic, and a little busier intersection. Oh the joy! In all I’d have to say I’m still a 3 out of 5 for busy intersections. But a strong 4 out of 5 for lesser intersections.
Lets see what next week brings!
Possibly Related Posts: