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. 

Disability Hate Crime

Hello again,

I have been thinking about what to write for my blog and I made a decision based on three things:

An article I saw only in the Yorkshire Evening Post
An event on the train
An event going to get my lunch 

A few weeks ago there was an article in the Yorkshire Evening Post regarding Disability Hate Crime in West Yorkshire. The article talks about how West Yorkshire has the highest rate of Disability Hate Crime in the UK. This makes me quite sad and very angry. As a Disabled Person I should be able to go out and about without the fear of people hating me due to my Disability, or for any reason. No one should have to put up with that.

A few days ago I was getting off the train. The doorway was quite narrow as it was an old train. I went to get off and as I was doing so three people in succession stepped onto the train and bustled past me in the narrow entrance saying ‘sorry’. For those who don’t know I am a long cane user. This means I use a white cane with a rollerball tip to navigate spaces around me. If you image getting off a train with someone walking towards you with a white cane do you honestly think it’s safe to push past them in a narrow train door way? No it is not. You could trip over my cane and fall, I could misjudge the gap between the train and the platform edge meaning I or you fall and seriously injure yourself.

As I got off a lady offered her arm and asked if I was ok. I said yes thank you and thanked her again for waiting. 

The third thing I am basing this post on is an event from yesterday. I was out to get my lunch in town and as I was walking with my cane, something happened. A lady was walking in front of me and as I walked past she said quite openly ‘You don’t need that…faker….you’re putting it on’. Now I am still wearing a mask when out and about, so I was able to pull a face which showed displeasure at this. I also scoffed. Which she clearly didn’t hear.

You might think I should have said something, but I was on my own. You have to wonder if they are willing to act blatantly ableist like that in the middle of a busy high street on a weekend, how are they going to react when confronted?

After posting about these various events on Twitter I got kind words from people asking if I was OK and expressing their concerns.

A few weeks another event occurred walking home. I was again minding my own business when two people wandered past and called me a blind c****. This I was upset by as I was already tired form a long day. But again what can you do? You can’t react because you don’t know how they will react.

The whole point of this blog is to make you aware that these things are happening to Disabled People and it can be very upsetting. It makes it more difficult to want to go out and leave the house.

If you experience someone who is being heckled or having insults thrown their way it can be difficult to know how to react. Potentially ask the person if they are OK? Maybe this will make the person who is being abusive stop as their actions have been noticed. I am not entirely sure how to fix this issue.

It’s upsetting and I wish the world was a nicer place.

Anyway I am cold. I’m off.