Handicap Signs

We once talked about how there is a movement to change how handicap signs look and to get people to acknowledge that the old handicap symbol is outdated and does not accurately depict people in wheelchairs. This new design is soon to be seen on the streets of New York City and hopes to inspire other cities, states and countries to adopt the use of this updated pictogram as well.

The said revamped pictogram was designed in Wenham, in Gordon College, and was being pushed by advocates to replace the old symbol. One of the co-designers of the new symbol, Sara Hendren, says that the new symbol shows a clear sense of movement, which is lacking in the old pictogram. Sara and her partner in this advocacy, Brian Glenney of Gordon College, started to give this new symbol its much needed attention by going the graffiti route.

What they did to make people sit up and notice this new and improved handicap sign symbol is to actually paint it over existing handicap parking signs that carried the original pictogram. While this was technically a crime since they were defacing public property, the effort actually paid off and people started discussing this new and active portrayal of people in wheelchairs.

To further make themselves heard, they sent stickers with the new symbol all across the US. They also made a call to New York City’s Victor Calise, who is the commissioner for people with disabilities in the city, and the rest, they say, is history. Calise joined their cause and has scheduled the replacement of old handicap symbols in the five boroughs of New York City with the active one.

While some people still think that the move is just a small ripple in a big pond, and that bigger and more pressing matters for people with disabilities should be taken care of first, those who pushed to get this thing moving are celebrating a small victory nonetheless. Changing people’s perceptions about those in wheelchairs with the help of the new handicap symbol is one step forward for the movement. Pretty soon, these signs will be seen everywhere and not just in New York, but that may be long in coming, however, it is a good first step to have.