Blind Rider Dan Parker to Race the Bonneville Salt Flats
Dan Parker,43, has been into car racing since he was 16, but he was recently involved in a terrible crash which left him with multiple serious injuries and completely blind. 17 months later, Dan climbed aboard the 3-wheeled bike largely made by himself and now he's aiming for Bonneville glory, being the first man to race at the BUB Motorcycle Speed trials.
With a small crew supporting him in his endeavor, Dan Parker is currently getting acquainted with the riding surface of the Bonneville Salt Flats, testing his bike and hiss safety systems on a track away from the usual crowd.
Patrick Johnson is following Dan in a pickup truck, supervising his trajectory. Initially plotted on a GPS device, the track Dan has to follow must also coincide with the official trial track.
Following indications in his earphones, Dan is told by the GPS and computerized systems when he's straying from the center line of the track: the further he goes from the center to the left or to the right, the louder the corresponding signals in his ears.
The first test went up to 35-40 mph (56.3-64.3 km/h), with good prospects of increasing the speed. His efforts are a part of a larger endeavor to develop new technologies helping the blind and visually impaired get along with operating a vehicle.
Dan Parker is also receiving a lot of support from National Federation for the Blind and Mark Riccobono, the first blind person to drive a vehicle without the assistance of a sighted person. Stay tuned for more.
Photos by Scott Sommerdorf and The Salt Lake Tribune. Via Bikernet.
For more stories of blind people riding motorcycles, check out Stuart Gunn's story and upcoming exclusive interview.
❐ Check out the Blind Rider Dan Parker photo gallery