Accessibility Symbol Could Get a Makeover

By Jared T. Miller

Jun 18, 2014 1:12pm
HT accessibility symbol jtm 140618 16x9 608 Accessibility Symbol Could Get a Makeover

From left, the current International Symbol of Access, and the "Accessible Icon" that would replace it were Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign a bill proposing the change passed by the New York State Legislature in mid-June. (Wikimedia Commons | The Accessible Icon Project)

The blue and white signs for wheelchair accessibility could be getting a makeover.

The New York state legislature passed a bill Wednesday that would replace the image of a seated figure in a wheelchair with a figure leaning forward in motion. The bill would also rid the signs of the word “handicapped” – a term disability rights advocates have called offensive and outdated.

The Accessible Icon Project, which created the new icon as part of a public art project in the Boston area, criticized the current icon’s “passivity.” Its posture is unnatural and still, which emphasizes the wheelchair rather than the person in it, the group claimed, whereas the new symbol displays a figure pushing its wheelchair forward.

New York Governor Cuomo has not indicated whether or not he supports the bill, but New York City began phasing the symbol into its signage in 2013.

The symbol is currently included in an “A Collection of Ideas,” an exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art running through February 2015.

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