DAVID Horsfall reckons every generation needs to learn what a white cane means.
Mr Horsfall, 46, who has had a vision impairment since birth and uses a white cane as a mobility aid, said some motorists came too close because they did not realise he could not see them.
Mr Horsfall, of Warrnambool, said more community education was needed to reduce the risks for people with a vision impairment and help the community better interact with them.
He said getting safely across Warrnambool’s many roundabouts was an example of how the community’s interaction with people with a vision impairment could be improved.
He has to listen to know there are no vehicles coming and appreciates help from sighted people to determine when it is safe to do so. But there were people who did not help.
Mr Horsfall said more work needed to be done to stop the isolation that blind and vision-impaired people often felt.
He was commenting on the Watch Out, Cane About campaign launched this week by Guide Dogs Victoria which urges motorists to be more cautious around blind or vision-impaired pedestrians.
Guide Dogs Victoria said the white cane, or long cane, was the primary mobility aid for blind and vision-impaired people, with 90 per cent of its clients using a cane to assist in getting around.
A study conducted by Monash University Accident Research Centre revealed one in four Victorians with blindness or vision impairment reported a pedestrian safety issue.
One in five have experienced a near collision, while one in 12 have been struck by a car or cyclist in the past five years.
In a national survey, blind or vision-impaired pedestrians also reported a range of other common incidents when attempting to cross the road, including cars not stopping when they should (83 per cent), drivers honking their horns (50 per cent), flashing their headlights (25 per cent) and shouting instructions (33 per cent).
Most reported incidents occurred as a result of cars not stopping or giving way at marked pedestrian crossings and intersections controlled by traffic signals.
Guide Dogs Victoria chief executive officer Karen Hayes said while it taught its clients how to cross the road safely, it needed the support of Victorian road users to play their part.
There are about 220,000 blind or vision-impaired people in Victoria but that number is expected to increase to 350,000 by 2020 due to the ageing population.