As part of the International White Cane Day 2017, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT launched the Eyes Up education campaign to urge members of the community to look up from their mobile devices when they’re walking to help those who are blind or vision impaired stay safe.
Constant use of mobile devices is now part of everyday life, but alarming statistics have revealed that mobile devices are a danger that impacts Australians with vision loss.
A Guide Dogs Australia survey revealed that:
- almost half of all people who use a white cane had been knocked over, injured, or had their cane broken by someone walking into them
- almost 60% of instances where a white cane user was walked into were caused by someone engrossed in a mobile device and not paying attention to where they were walking
A white cane enables a person with vision loss to move freely and detect if there are any potential dangers in front them. If their cane gets broken, they lose the ability to judge what’s ahead. This can be harmful, upsetting and disorienting for a person with vision loss.
As the leading provider of Guide Dogs and other mobility services for people with vision loss, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT specialists work with people who use a white cane to teach them the skills they need to get around their communities safely and independently.
We need the assistance of the community to help us look out for people with vision loss. By keeping their eyes up and being mindful of who’s around them while using mobile devices in public, the community can help people with vision loss stay safe. We all have a role in helping to make sure people who are blind or vision impaired can get around their communities safely and confidently, just like everyone else.
How you can help
- For your safety and the safety of the people around you, avoid using your mobile device while walking. Wait until you reach your destination to check your mobile device, or step aside so you don’t block the way for others.
- Pay attention to where you’re walking and be respectful of other people’s spaces. Follow the pedestrian flow, e.g. keep right.
- If you see a person who is using a white cane who might need assistance, approach the person, introduce yourself and ask how you can assist them. Please do not grab their cane or their mobility aid.
- Help us spread the word about the safety of people with vision loss.
Facts and resources
- Infographics: Eyes Up (PNG format)
- Infographics: Eyes Up (PDF format)
- Media Release: Community urged to keep “Eyes Up” from mobiles
- Guide: Assisting a Person with Vision Impairment