Bill Would Mandate New Parking Lots Use ‘Dynamic’ Handicap Sign

Sponsor: ‘We don’t have to use the stick figures anymore’

State Rep. Beau LaFave says he has a $70,000 prosthetic leg that is considered by the state to be a motor vehicle. The leg has a computer, battery and a hydraulic system. The Republican from Iron Mountain said that technically, he needs a driver’s license to operate it on the street.

LaFave, whose left leg is missing from the knee and below, cites his status when explaining why he’s interested in changing the image shown on handicap parking signs in this state. The state of New York did something similar in 2014.

The first-term legislator has introduced two bills to replace the traditional stick-figure handicap symbol with a what they describe as a more dynamic image. The first bill would require the state Civil Rights Commission to adopt a logo depicting “a dynamic character leaning forward in a wheelchair with a sense of movement.” The proposal would specifically prohibit the sign from having the word “handicapped,” or any other words.

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The second bill would require all new parking lots in the state to use the design on signs for handicapped-accessible parking spots, and existing lots to use them when current signs are replaced.

The handicap symbol with a wheelchair currently used in most places – now called the International Symbol of Access – was created in 1968. LaFave said it was intended to allow signs to be made with just a stencil and spray paint.

“We don’t have to use the stick figures anymore and we can make it look like a human being that is doing something,” LaFave said. “As it looks right now, it’s just like someone is just sitting there doing nothing.”

LaFave said there would be no additional costs to making the transition. “If you are going to redo your parking lot, you have to get new signs anyway,” LaFave said. “The colors aren’t changing. It’s a different logo.”

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