LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — A sign every driver is familiar with will soon be changing in parking lots across the state.
Under PA 182 and 183, new signs posted in parking lots, near doorways and on restroom doors will feature the silhouette of a person “leaning forward in a wheelchair with a sense of movement.” The new signs will still use white and blue and may include instructional words like “reserved,” but will no longer include the word “handicapped.”
Disability Network/Michigan says it’s been advocating for the design change for years. The organization says the new look better represents the independence of people with disabilities and curbs the use of antiquated and offensive language.
“We are pleased the Legislature and the Governor agreed that it was time for an update,” stated Alex Gossage, vice chair of Disability Network/Michigan’s board of directors.
Residents will likely see accessibility signs change slowly statewide since the new design will only be required for new parking lots/accessible areas and when replacement signage is needed.
The new laws also apply to state and local governments, which are encouraged to remove the word “handicapped” from their signs or means of communication. However, they can also wait to roll out the new accessibility signs until new or replacement signs are needed.
Whitmer signed the bills on the eve of when the federal Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law 32 years ago. The ADA prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in routine activities.
“We appreciate the work everyone put into these bills,” Gossage stated in a news release. “As we’ve demonstrated, advocating for people with disabilities did not end when the ADA was signed into law. We will continue to share our message that our communities thrive when we all are included and represented accurately.”
The amended law takes effect Oct. 23, but the redesigned signs won’t be required until a year later.