Belinda O’Connor is passionate about access to independent travel for people living with vision impairment and more broadly disability. Born with a significant vision impairment, Belinda was told not to ride a push bike and will never drive a car. Today she is Australia's first bioptic motorcyclist, holds a driver's licence and is a keen cyclist. Belinda believes disabled people deserve the same opportunity seen overseas that embed human rights into law, policy and programs to allow dignity of ability to be assessed and continue to ensure road safety outcomes are achieved.
Belinda’s Churchill fellowship project is to investigate success factors and barriers for low vision and telescopic driving. Despite bioptic driving being legal for 10 years, a review of the medical licencing regulations in 2021 reported a consensus position on their use could not be reached among medical experts. Belinda wants to know how other countries with similar regulations came to a consensus position and how the disability community can work with the medical community to ensure the best possible access.
Belinda founded Bioptic Drivers Australia with three others to successfully advocate to ensure bioptic driving continues following the 2016 review of the medical licencing regulations. They continue to advocate for human rights inclusion for driving and transport.
Belinda has 20 years experience working in public policy, statutory compliance and program management in the Australian Government. This has bolstered her skills and knowledge to drive awareness towards the change that needs to happen in Australia for disabled people.
In 2022 she commenced postgraduate study to become a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist. Belinda’s purpose is to professionally contribute in this field towards pre-driver, road safety and low vision driving skills.
Belinda is a member of the Disability Leadership Institute and Women with Disability ACT. She holds a Bachelor of International Business.
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