Fort Lauderdale hosts White Cane Safety Day

November 21, 2012 by  

Fort Lauderdale was recently the host to a march conducted by the National Federation of the Blind. The White Cane Safety Day was held to increase awareness of the safety issues faced daily by blind pedestrians. Around 50 marchers were escorted by police but, despite this, two warnings were issued to motorists who attempted to turn in front of the marchers. Signs were held aloft by the marchers, stating ‘It’s the Law’ and ‘Yield to the Blind’.

The president of the Broward branch of the National Federation of the Blind, Tom Ryan, was excited by the turnout for the march, believing that the group accomplished their goal for the day – to raise awareness. According to Ryan, more than 200 blind people have been killed in road traffic accidents in Florida during the last five years. Audible signals are also in the process of being installed so that blind people know when it is safe to cross at some of the main intersections. An audible signal, like a spoken message or a beep, signifies that it is safe to cross. Local printers may also be involved in promoting awareness of road safety for the blind, with requests for poster printing or flyer printing.

An audible signal was only installed at Commercial Boulevard when Ryan was almost knocked down by a driver. Since that time, Ryan has been knocked down despite being in the presence of his guide dog. Around 50,000 people are members of the National Federation of the Blind, using a white stick to help them to maintain their independence.