WATCH LIVE

White Cane Walk 

Some folks took to the streets of downtown Bangor.Trying to educate motorists about the rights the blind and visually impaired have.Meghan Hayward caught up with them along their route.” We’re having a White Cane awareness walk. It’s to help motorists be aware that folks carrying a white can or guide dog are blind or visually impaired. And also that there is a law, the White Cane Law.”Under that law, anyone operating a vehicle is required to take all precautions necessary when approaching a pedestrian carrying a white cane or using a guide dog.Patricia Monahan of Iris Network says getting the facts about the law out there is important.” I think we’re all very busy in our hectic schedules and wanting to get here or and there. The white can signifies a tool of independence for the blind and visually impaired.”Monahan says there is often a misconception about these folks.” Just because someone is labeled as legally blind most folks do have some vision but they cannot travel safely lots of times without the use of a cane or guide dog.”Nancy Matulis is President of the American Council of the Blind of Maine and uses a white cane.She took part in the walk.Matulis had a personal experience that makes this walk even more important to her.” Probably about 20 years ago I was hit by a car crossing the street by Shaw’s. The car banged into me and I was carrying some paperwork, I had just come from a meeting.”Matulis says the impact did not knock her down and she was able to make it across the street.But not one person stopped to ask if she was okay.So Matulis has one message she would like to get across.” We have to have access to safe passages on streets and making sure drivers pay attention to us in sidewalks.”Both the Iris Network and American Council of the Blind of Maine are resources to help people who are visually impaired or blind to attain their independence and integrate within their community.You can learn more about each organization at their websites.www.theiris.org and www.acbmaine.org.