The Debate on Colored Canes

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I’ve only been using a cane since 2009 so I haven’t been in on “the great debate” of  cane users. Reading about the debate is like having moved to a foreign country and being thrust in the middle of an internal struggle only the locals truly know about. I don’t have much of my own input to share but I sure am learning a lot by observing others who “walk the walk” with any kind of cane.

Cane users worry about this issue. The old and younger generation have different ideas as do the traditional and the liberals.

But, as Lynda points out, all seem to agree – that a non-traditional color cane is better than no cane at all.

It not only reminds me of entering a foreign country where I’m just learning the lifestyle, it reminds me of politics. People get heated and have strong opinions. I love how thorough my colleague, Lynda Jones, was in researching this topic. She interviewed cane users, cane designers, orientation and mobility instructors and those involved in national blind organizations, who are well-versed on the subject.

Knowing this article was in the works, I interviewed my own specialist friend, Shelley, who is an orientation and mobility instructor. Her opinion on the issue is “Yep, go ahead. Change the color if you want to.” She has a pink cane. She explains, “I work with some kids at a camp. We put all kinds of stickers on their canes to personalize it–Star Wars, flowers, spiders, cartoon characters. It doesn’t matter, as long at that child is feeling ownership to that cane. Go for it! We add on reflective strips for safety.”

I think I see a neon colored cane in my future!

Lynda provides an excellent background description on the role of orientation and mobility instructors, how their expertise and training impacts a new  or newly-retraining cane user. Then she  sweeps into the topic, both feet, of cane colors.

You may know more than me about this foreign turf. If you do, join in on the discussion. I’d love to hear your opinion! But I’m still learning here as some of you will be.

Let’s get moving … onto Lynda’s well crafted article posted on

Part 2:  Perspectives on using a colored cane

Click on this link if you missed Part 1: Historical evolution of the white cane, click on the link.

You can also read both articles on the VisionAware Site

As a motorist, do you think you would be more observant if someone has a white cane or would you pay as much attention if they used a colored cane crossing street? If you’re a cane user, do you tend to be more traditional, middle of the road or liberal? 

You have just read Perpsectives on using a colored cane by Lynda Jones, peer mentor. Copyright Lynda Jones.  Don’t forget to leave a comment!

The Debate on Colored Canes
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6 thoughts on “The Debate on Colored Canes

  • October 20, 2015 at 9:10 am

    Haha. The issue of a coloured cane has gained attention. Personally, I’d take more notice of a white can denoting a person with limited or no sight.
    But, as for canes in general, I like the idea of everyone making their stick individual.
    I sometimes use a walking stick, instead of my rollator. Before I went to hospital a few years ago to have another hip replacement, I wrote my name on the wooden cane and tied coloured thread in stripes just under the handle bend. Lucky I did. Another woman on the ward was sure I had her stick. I had to chuckle when she made the nurse take it to her to prove ownership.

  • October 20, 2015 at 11:09 am

    I view a cane more as a means of communication to others: it conveys a clear signal that the person holding the cane has impaired vision.

    If I saw a colored cane, it would throw me – I’d be unsure what it meant, since white canes are the standard.

    We have a few large blind communities near here, so I see perhaps more canes than most people do.

  • October 20, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    Hi Francene,
    What a funny story! I’m sorry about your hip replacement. i do like it that you can relate so well to this cane issue. LOL. When I was in the hospital in the UAE, someone took my shower shoes and I never got them back. LOL.
    Have a great day, Francene!

  • October 20, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    Good morning, Ruthanne!
    Glad you are aware of canes from being around the blind communities. That’s helpful. Yes, the white cane is standard. The big thing to remember even if it’s colored is that it’s long and slender and that means the person is vision-impaired or blind. Here’s a song that I heard the other day written by children at a music school in New Zealand.Of course, they say, “It’s a long WHITE thing…” but it could be any color. Have a listen.

  • October 23, 2015 at 5:55 am

    I don’t see the need, at any time in my life with a cane, to have it be anything but white. I understand individualism, but I guess I don’t see the big deal. White is the colour that was chosen and why bother making it hot pink or whatever? Just my opinion.

  • October 24, 2015 at 5:11 am

    Hi Kerry,
    LOL. I don’t think it’s a big deal either except that I enjoyed learning about the way people think about it. I’ll probably stick with my white cane, too. But I like the idea of a colored cane for fun.
    I liked that you weighed in on it.

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