Top Ten Fun Facts About White CanesWe've all seen people using white canes to get around. But how much do we really know about them. Here are 10 fun facts about white canes:
- You can take your white cane through TSA security at an airport, but it has to go through the X-ray machine.
- White canes were pioneered by George Bonham, who, in 1930, suggested painting canes used by blind people white with a red stripe so that motorists and others would better notice them.
- New technology embedded in white canes causes them to vibrate to warn users of nearby obstacles and hazards.
- In 1944 Richard Hoover created the method of of holding a long cane in the center of the body and swinging it back and forth before each step to detect obstacles. This is still called the “Hoover Method.”
- Only 2 - 8% of visually impaired people use white canes. Others utilize their useable vision, a guide dog or a sighted guide.
- There are 3 kinds of white canes: a) Standard mobility cane, used to navigate; b) Support cane, used by people with visual impairments who also have mobility challenges; c) ID cane, a small, foldable cane used by people with partial sight to let others know they have a visual impairment.
- Orientation & Mobility specialists, who train people who are blind to use white canes, have to spend 120+ hours blindfolded while using a white cane.
- White canes today are typically made from aluminum, fiberglass or carbon fiber, and can weigh under 7 ounces.
- The Braille Institute holds a yearly Cane Quest, where kids aged 3-12 compete to quickly and safely navigate a route in their community using their white canes.
- Some states ban the use of white canes by people who are not legally blind so they can get the right-of-way to cross a street.
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