Dan Parker Will Be First Blind Man to Drive Motorcycle on Bonneville Salt Flats
Wendover, Utah (August 21, 2013): The National Federation of the Blind today announced its sponsorship of the first attempt by a blind driver to independently race a motorcycle on the famed Bonneville Salt Flats. Dan Parker, an experienced racecar builder and driver who lost his sight as the result of a racing accident last year, will independently operate a three-wheeled motorcycle with the help of a GPS system that gives him audible cues in order to help him maintain a straight course. Mr. Parker will make his run as part of the 2013 BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials this Sunday at the Flats. The National Federation of the Blind is one of several sponsors contributing funds and equipment to help Mr. Parker complete his “Quest for the Salt.” Additionally, the Federation’s Mark Riccobono, the first blind person to drive a vehicle without the assistance of a sighted person, will travel out to the Salt to participate in this historic event.
Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “We have demonstrated that it is possible for a blind person to operate a vehicle with the help of an interface that can convey information about the driver’s environment. Dan Parker is taking the concepts that we pioneered with our Blind Driver Challenge™ a step further—and possibly faster—while continuing to experiment with technology that may someday allow blind drivers to navigate America’s roadways like our sighted peers. We are pleased to sponsor Dan’s effort and wish him a successful run on the Bonneville Salt Flats.”
Mr. Parker said: “As a member, I appreciate the support of the National Federation of the Blind, an organization that believes, as I do, that blind people can succeed in whatever effort we choose with the proper tools and training. I look forward to demonstrating this truth to the racing community and the general public on the Salt Flats this weekend. I view this run as just the first leg of my journey to contribute to the work of the Federation and its Blind Driver Challenge™.”
On January 29, 2011, NFB’s Mark Riccobono became the first blind person to operate a vehicle on the Daytona International Speedway as a demonstration of technology that helped him navigate the course and avoid obstacles. More information about the NFB Blind Driver Challenge™, along with information about Dan Parker’s Quest for the Salt, is available at www.blinddriverchallenge.org. Also be sure to visit Dan Parker’s Quest for the Salt Facebook page, as well as the NFB’s Facebook and Twitter feeds, for continuous updates on this exciting event