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The Accessibility Logo Is Long Due For A Redesign, Ohio Lawmakers Say
By Mikelle Leow, 12 Aug 2019
Image via Shutterstock
People with disabilities are no longer bounded by the wheelchair. Yet, the current International Symbol of Accessibility still depicts them as helpless and completely dependent on the able-bodied.
Lawmakers in Ohio are hoping to introduce more disability representation by overhauling the signage, which, at present, shows a person in a wheelchair, appearing as if they are waiting to be pushed.
According to The Week magazine, Kenny Yuko, Democratic Senate Minority Leader of Ohio, is advocating for a redesign of the accessibility logo to the state’s transportation budget. This is in light of a memorable conversation he had with a friend, who has multiple sclerosis.
Yuko recounts how his friend was affected by the way the character in the symbol was sitting in wait for someone to push them, as if “totally dependent on somebody else.” This was in drastic contrast to another sign he saw depicting a disabled person leaning forward in their wheelchair, “almost indicating that they’re self-mobilized” and independent.
The official accessibility logo was adopted following a design competition by the independent International Organization for Standardization in 1968, so it is surely long due for some changes. Today, the disabled are seen as active and self-reliant, but these traits aren’t reflected in the symbol.
Unfortunately, all plans to overhaul the signage has been put to a halt, as the Federal Highway Administration related to the Ohio Department of Transportation in June that traffic control devices have to be “unmistakably similar” to symbols in its manual. As a redesign could violate its regulations, the state also risks losing government funding.
In March 2017, the United States Access Board, which writes federal accessibility laws, also published guidelines detailing that alternative symbols would only be accepted if they generated “substantially equivalent or greater accessibility and usability.”
[via The Week, cover image via Shutterstock]
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