Services for the Blind to celebrate White Cane Safety Awareness Day Oct 13 in downtown OKC
OKLAHOMA CITY – Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired staff are inviting white cane users and sighted supporters to celebrate National White Cane Safety Awareness Day from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. on October 13 with a walk through the heart of downtown Oklahoma City.
Participants will gather in front of the Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library located at 300 Park Avenue.
White Cane Safety Awareness Day is traditionally celebrated worldwide on October 15, but SBVI organizers rescheduled this year because the 15th falls on Sunday when fewer workers will be downtown.
SBVI staff chose the library location because it is near a streetcar stop next to the library on Hudson Avenue. Embark buses 009, 012, 013, 13N and 016 also drop off and pick up passengers on the west side of Hudson Avenue at Robert S Kerr Avenue.
After reading the proclamations from Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt and Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, White Cane Day participants will circle the courthouse and city hall.
Walkers will hand out cards with a summary of the Oklahoma law requiring drivers to stop for white cane users and a thank you to drivers who stop during the celebration. Participants may also meet for lunch at their own expense.
EMBARK will provide a limited number of free streetcars and parking passes available on a first-come, first-served basis from the SBVI table outside the Ronald J. Norick Down Library before the start of the event. The parking passes are available only for the Arts District parking garage.
Oklahoma law requires drivers to completely stop their vehicles 15 feet away from pedestrians who are visually impaired and identified by the use of white canes, white canes with red tips or dog guides. People who violate this law are guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to three months or $100 fine or both.
Oklahoma law also stipulates that only blind people may carry white canes with or without red tips, which are internationally recognized as mobility aids for people with vision impairments.
White Cane Safety Awareness Day was first established by presidential proclamation in 1964. The first white cane laws were drafted around the same time. Today, similar laws exist in all 50 states and in the District of Columbia.
“Approximately 3.3 percent of the population or 128,900 Oklahomans, all ages, report vision difficulties and may be potential white cane or dog guide users, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey estimates,” SBVI Administrator Tracy Brigham said. “As the state agency serving Oklahomans who are blind, we know there is strong connection between effective cane use, travel safety and reaching personal goals for employment and independence.”
In 2022, DRS’ SBVI staff provided career counseling, employment, assistive technology, training and job placement services for 1,635 Oklahomans and helped 317 jobseekers find employment. Those who became employed earned average annual wages of $29,873 and paid $4,481 in annual taxes.
Phone 405-522-3333 for more information about SBVI’s White Cane Safety Awareness Day.
For information about programs offered by SBVI, phone 800-487-4042 to reach the nearest office or visit https://oklahoma.gov/okdrs/job-seekers/sbvi.html.
For more information
Jody Harlan, DRS Communications Director