LANSING, Mich. – Changes are coming to signs posted in parking lots, near doorways and on restroom doors that indicate accessibility for people with disabilities in Michigan.
According to Disability Network/Michigan (DN/M), the new signs will establish a design that better represents people who use wheelchairs and need mobility assistance. The signs will no longer use the word “handicapped,” and instead use the word “reserved.”
Under the new law, the new signs are required to depict a character leaning forward in a wheelchair “with a sense of movement.” On the signs will also be either a light symbol on a blue background, or a blue symbol on a light background.
“We are pleased the Legislature and the governor agreed that it was time for an update,” said Alex Gossage, vice chair of Disability Network/Michigan Board of Directors, and executive director of Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living.
According to the release, businesses will not be required to replace their signs immediately. They will just have to use the updated signage when they’re replacing old signs or putting up new signs.
Whitmer signed the bills into law just one day before the 32nd anniversary of the signing of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
“We appreciate the work everyone put into these bills,” Gossage said. “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.”
House Bill No. 4076 requires the following updated signage:
- Sec. 102a. (1) The commission shall adopt and post on the website of the department of civil rights a standardized design that is a variation of the current international symbol of access. The design must comply with all of the following:
- (a) Depict a dynamic character leaning forward in a wheelchair with a sense of movement.
- (b) Provide a contrasting background with either a light symbol on a blue background or a blue symbol on a light background.
- (c) Be substantially equivalent to the international symbol of access.
- (d) Be simple and avoid any secondary meaning.
- (2) Beginning 1 year after the effective date of the amendatory act that added this section, each new placement or replacement of an international symbol of access sign required by law, ordinance, or administrative rule of this state or a local unit of government of this state must use the design adopted under this section. For any placement or replacement of the international symbol of access that is not required by law, ordinance, or administrative rule of this state or a local unit of government of this state, the commission and the department of civil rights shall encourage use of the design adopted under this section.
- (3) The commission and the department of civil rights shall encourage removal of the word “handicapped” from any signs or other means of communication of this state or any local unit of government of this state.
- (4) For the purpose of this section, encouraging the use of the design adopted under this section or the removal of the word “handicapped” do not include any form of civil, criminal, administrative, or regulatory action against any person or entity.
- (5) Any government issued item currently in use by this state or any department, agency, or office of this state, local unit of government of this state, or other entity or individual that contains the international symbol of access may continue to be used until there is a need to replace that item.