The traditional image marking wheelchair ramps and accessible parking could soon be replaced under a bill passed by the Legislature this week.
If signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the bill would replace the well-known blue-and-white image of a nondescript person sitting in a wheelchair with one showing the wheelchair in motion.
The legislation would also prohibit the word “handicapped” from being displayed on any accessibility signs, responding to concerns raised by disability rights advocates who say the term is outdated and offensive.
The new rules would only apply to wheelchair-accessible signs that are installed or replaced after the bill takes effect, which would be 120 days after Cuomo signs it. Cuomo has not signaled whether he supports the bill.
The bill was sponsored by Sen. David Carlucci, D-Clarkstown, Rockland County, and Assemblywoman Sandra Galef, D-Ossining, Westchester County.
“The term handicapped is outdated, derogatory and just plain-out offensive,” Carlucci said on the Senate floor. “By working with advocates across the state and throughout the nation, we need to remove barriers and transform our symbol of handicapped disabled into an accessible icon.”