When you hear the term “handicap signage”, the most common perception is that these are signs that are used to show people where parking spots reserved for those with disabilities are found. While this is indeed one of the uses of this particular type of sign, this is not the only use for such signs. You will easily recognize these signs due to the telltale ISA pictogram (International Symbol for Accessibility) found on these.

The reason why people usually associate this symbol, and the signs that carry them, with parking slots for people with disabilities, is because these are the most visible of all handicap signs. This is because these signs are made to stick out and be easily noticed so that they can be seen from afar. This can also be attributed to the fact that this very same symbol is painted on the pavement of the parking spot it is marking as reserved for people with disabilities.

The symbol used on these signs (the ISA) is the one that shows a stick figure on a wheelchair. The old symbol is the one that shows an immobile wheelchair, while a new one (although not yet officially accepted and used everywhere) has a more active looking pictogram on it. These signs are often seen in the usual colors of blue and white, although it is acceptable to use this symbol in other colors (as long as the combinations are still in line with ADA standards).

Here are other uses for handicap signs:

-      For marking bathrooms made for use by people with disabilities – there are bathroom signs that carry this symbol on them, and there are those that do not. This means that, when a sign has this symbol, there is a cubicle big enough for a wheelchair to fit in inside the bathroom in question. If the bathroom does not have this sign outside, it means that the facility does not have a wheelchair ready cubicle in it.

-      For marking ramps and accessible areas – these signs are used outdoors and indoors to mark ramps and elevators that people with disabilities can use. You can find these signs on curbs, outside buildings, in establishments that have multiple floors, and more.

-      For marking exits and entrances that are big enough for wheelchairs – not all entrances and exits are big enough to accommodate the width of a wheelchair. This is especially true with a number of older buildings that were around before the ADA was implemented, and as such, these were subjected to alterations or the creation of options for accessibility, i.e. side doors and other entrances and exits. These signs mark such doors and are also used to direct people to where these are.