Mind My Cain

Hello all,

It is Monday again which means it’s time for another blog post. This week I’m focusing on being a long cane user.

As you maybe aware I am Visually Impaired and use a long cane. In order for me to get around I sweep the cane across the floor in front of me to be able to find objects in my path. Including but not limited to steps, curbs, dogs and people.

Earlier this week I had gotten off the train and was making my way to the escalators. It was a busy morning and I was making my way to work. Someone was at the side of me and noticed my cane hit their leg, they looked down at my cane and continued to move forwards. The difficult and dangerous thing was that we were trying to get on the escalator. People at the other side of me noticed I had my cane, they stopped and let me get on. I said thank you.

My long cane in the centre, a red handle. In front is a train platform.

The person who had come into contact with my cane continued onto the escalator. I continued to use my cane to navigate onto the escalator and my cane caught between their legs. Once we were on the escalator I stood my cane in front of me and waited until we reached the top.

I put my cain out cautiously to find my way off. As I did this and moved forward the same person was caught by my cain.

The difficult thing with being a cain user is that we are using it for the right reasons. To discover obstacles in our path and navigate safely. The problem comes when others pay no attention. Mistakes can be made yes, but when someone actively notices your cain and continues to not give you the space you need to navigate safely then they are putting you and them at risk.

The danger in this situation is that the person who ignored my cain could have tripped up and slammed their head onto the escalator. I could have then fallen onto them. This would have been very dangerous for both us.

Similar situations can occur when cain users are crossing roads. If people ignore our cain and step into the road or don’t move out of the way then they could cause both of us to fall over.

When out and about people tend to have their headphones in to block out all the noise around them, which makes sense. But this can also mean you’re in your own little world.

This can lead to people being less aware of their surroundings. Meaning they may miss someone using a mobility aid. Which can have serious consequences.

All we ask is that you try be a bit more cautious. We are doing what we need to do to get around. We can’t travel at quieter times if we need to get to work. We shouldn’t have to travel at quiet times.

Please just be a little mindful and don’t rush people. Getting to work can be very hectic and can create stress. But if we all just try be a little more aware of our surroundings (unless, like me you’re Visually Impaired and find this difficult) we can all have an easier and smother time on public transport.

Thank you,
Philippa B. 

Busses and Cycle Lanes

Hello All,

I hope you are well.

The topic for todays blog is around street layouts.
Normally I get the train to work, however the other week I had to get the bus.

When getting off I was unaware that I was getting off onto a small area of pavement which divided the main road and a new cycle lane. This meant that when I stepped off there was only enough room for single file people to walk on. If you use a guide cane and do not know that there is a cycle lane a few feet in front of you, you are not safe.

The reason you are not safe is that the pavement you have to walk across does not have adequate tactile paving.

Tactile paving exists to tell a Blind or Visually Impaired Person that there is a a curb, a step, or any change in their surroundings coming up which they should be aware of. 

Given that there is only tactile paving on the zebra crossing between the island of pavement and normal pavement, divided by a cycle lane, this is not safe at all.

See photo below of a crossing with a tactile paving then a cycle lane, then a small strip of pavement to get onto a bus. Notice in the photo the bus does not need to stop near the tactile paving.

Cycle lane


Blind and Visually Impaired People have tried to raise concerns about these issues in the past and I wanted to write about my experience with this.

Whilst I understand cyclists need somewhere safe to access the roads this should not be at the expense of Disabled Peoples safety. I cannot begin to image how wheelchair users navigate this issue.

I love that we have more green alternative to travel by making cycling more accessible. It will allow more people to maybe feel like cycling is an alternative option for them. Meaning less cars on the road, meaning less pollution and greener city spaces.

It would be good to hear if you are Disabled and have had similar issues to the ones I have described above.

Thank you,
Philippa.

Please take a look at the following article which addresses concerns from RNIB regarding New Street designs to encourage more cycling and walking https://www.rnib.org.uk/more-cycling-and-walking-good-as-long-as-streets-are-accessible

Please take a look at Street Design Guidance from Guide Dogs https://www.guidedogs.org.uk/about-us/what-we-do/research/policy-and-guidance-for-businesses/street-design-guidance-for-local-authorities/

What I bought from RNIB

What I bought from the RNIB. 

Hello again, 

A few days ago my order from the RNIB arrived in the post. I ordered a Ambutech black leather cane pouch (MP39) and Optima folding pocket magnifier 6× (MAG85). 

One of the things I really struggle with is reading numbers on bank cards. On some new cards the numbers are not raised. They are printed on the card. The other thing with new card is the fonts are bit cleaner, I think the numbers on cards are a little bigger on my own bank card. Another interesting thing I have found about bank cards is they have a new little cut out in them for your finger to rest in. This is particularly helpful when you can’t see well. Rather than looking, you can just feel for the cut out.  

So back to this magnifier, its a 6x magnifier which I used the RNIBs article to check which size is right for me. The magnifier folds away into a little circular hard plastic case. Which you can the put neatly  into a little leather pouch. Perfect for carrying around. 

Using it so fare it is good for  just looking at quick simple things. I would not use it for reading properly though as having to move the magnifier sets of the wobble of my Nystagmus. But so far I am very pleased with my purchase. It was £18.50 which for something I will find very beneficial I think is a decent price. 

The second thing I purchased was the Ambutech black leather pouch for my long cane. The reason I bought this is because I find when I go out and about, pre covid, I find myself struggling with keeping my cane neat and tidy. It also gets frustrating when you have nowhere to prop your cane. Meaning you have to lay it on the floor. Which means it is not very clean at all. It’s very important to try keep the handle of your cane clean, especially with how things are. So if you get the pouch you can just fold your can away and not worry about it unfolding itself. This is particularly hand when you’re on a long car journey. So you can put your can cane your bag and not worry about it getting in the way. The pouch is £26.99. 

Believe any cane user when they tell you it’s frustrating that they are unsure where to put their cane in the car. When it is not stored properly it means it moves around and there’s quite a bit of noise. 

The question I have for any of you is, what do you use to make your life easier?