I’ve often observed persons using canes in the States who walk very slowly or have the appearance of shuffling their feet. At times, it is seems that the cane is the only thing keeping a person upright. Do we tend to lean on our canes a bit more here in the US? I wonder.
In Switzerland, cane users walked no less quickly than others in the crowd. When I finally brought my folding cane out for use on our last day, I definitely walked more slower than the throngs of tourists and locals. People passed me by frequently. I even had to quickly step out of the way of a women spotted at the train station who was practically jogging while using her cane.
Observing so many people using mobility devices made me wonder if Americans are just more stoic and reluctant to use canes and arm crutches than the Swiss. But then I considered that since people are much more pedestrian in Zurich, perhaps they are more willing to do what it takes to be able to travel distances.
Maybe persons who grow up in a culture of Alpine hiking and skiing (sports which frequently involve the use of poles) are more likely to use a cane then those of us in the US who may mistakenly associate using a cane as a sign of weakness. Of course, using a mobility device is not a sign of weakness, but you do need to use the appropriate device for maximum benefit.
Read this post in its entirety:
Trains, Trams, and Walking Canes: Pedestrian Travel in Europe