Your Say

Dear Editor,

This International White Cane Day, Guide Dogs Australia’s Look up. Listen Up. Let me be.’ campaign is urging the community to be more aware of how they might be obstructing people with low vision or blindness, with the aim of making our streets safer and more accessible for all.

This means looking up from phones and turning the volume down or off, with 3 in 4 Guide Dogs Clients saying distractions from mobiles or headphones are the main cause of obstructions to their path.

Bikes and scooters being ridden on pavements are also a concern, as this can leave more vulnerable members of our community at risk of physical harm.

White cane use is skilled and concentrated work, and members of this community devote time to learning that skill to maintain their independence and quality of life. It’s important that work isn’t obstructed, especially since these incidents leave white cane users feeling anxious, frustrated and unsafe.

Most members of the public are trying to do the right thing, but that should stop short of touching a person or their cane without asking – something a third of Clients have experienced.

In short, simply leveling-up your awareness is the one thing you can do to create a safer environment for everybody.

For more information, visit

Jaryd Clifford

Paralympic Medallist and Guide Dogs Ambassador

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