COLUMBUS, Ga. — The National Federation of the Blind today announced that one of its members, Dan Parker, an experienced race car builder and driver who lost his sight as the result of a racing accident in 2012, will again 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. Parker will drive his custom-built motorcycle on the runway as part of the Thunder in the Valley Air Show in Columbus, Georgia, this weekend.
On Aug. 27, 2013, Parker became the second blind man to publicly operate a vehicle independently and the first blind man to race at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Parker completed a two-mile run on the famed Bonneville Salt Flats, reaching an officially recorded top speed of 55.331 mph.
Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “We in the National Federation of the Blind know that blindness is not what defines a person or his future. Dan Parker exemplifies that belief by continuing to live his dream to be a high-speed motorcycle driver. We wish him success in his run at the Thunder in the Valley Air Show and look forward to future collaborations with him in our ongoing efforts to break down misconceptions about the capacity of blind people. ”
“When I first lost my sight, I wasn’t sure if I could continue my lifelong dream of building and racing motorcycles,” Parker said. “With the help of my friends in the National Federation of the Blind, I realized that I can have the life I want; blindness is not what holds me back. I look forward to demonstrating this truth to the general public at the Thunder in the Valley Air Show this weekend.”
On Jan. 29, 2011, the National Federation of the Blind’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 this initiative, the NFB Blind Driver Challenge, along with information about Dan Parker, is available here.