Some members of the visually impaired community say they are afraid to use the crosswalks that stretch across bike lanes when trying to get to a bus stop. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

City of Victoria responds to blind community’s B.C. Human Rights Tribunal case

The Canadian Federation of the Blind says bike lanes can be dangerous

The City of Victoria has submitted a response to a B.C. Human Rights Tribunal complaint from the Canadian Federation of the Blind (CFB), but cannot confirm if it’s a dismissal or not.

“The City’s response to the BCHRT will be released to the public and the media in due course as part of the Tribunal’s normal procedures,” said Bill Eisenhauer, head of engagement at the City of Victoria in an emailed statement. “In the meantime, we believe the dialogue should be between the parties and not through the media.”

In July, the CFB filed a complaint against the City in regards to the Pandora Avenue bike lanes.

READ MORE: Blind community says bike lanes put their lives at risk

The group argues that having a bus stop on a mid-street meridian is unsafe for those who are blind or partially sighted, as they have no safe way of crossing the bike lane to get to the bus shelter.

In a previous interview with Black Press, Oriano Belusic, vice president of CFB, said there’s no way to hear cyclists riding down the lanes.

“It’s like playing Russian roulette,” he said. “Without eye contact, you really don’t know if you’re gonna get whacked by a bike.”

READ MORE: ‘We live in an ableist society,’ Victoria candidates debate how to approach accessibility

Belusic argued it was unsafe for the blind, and also for their service dogs.

The City of Victoria has an Accessibility Working Group which is formed by volunteers to guide city policy to make services and infrastructure more accessible. However, the group wasn’t formed until after planning decisions for the Pandora lanes had been made.

Since the problem came to light the Accessibility Working Group has demonstrated the problems to City staff, who resolved to put more signage around crosswalks on Fort Street bike lanes.

In the BCHRT file, the CFB has asked the city to remove the floating bus stop islands and place them at a safer location at a regular sidewalk, noting that signage is not enough.

ALSO READ: Only half of Victoria’s accessible parking meets basic standards

“The City is committed to improving accessibility for all residents and visitors,” Eisenhauer said, adding that the lanes are up to North American transporation standards. “We are open to exploring further improvements.”

Since July, the city has also installed additional signage and pathway markings on the Pandora lanes.

“We have recently taken action to improve warnings at this location, and the City is actively monitoring and reviewing those systems to determine what additional safety measures may be required.”

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

biketoriaCity of Victoria

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BC Ferries further reduces sailings in response to COVID-19

Any sailing reservations cancelled due to schedule changes will be refunded

Royal Athletic Park will not be a shelter site during COVID-19 crisis: Victoria mayor

Indoor sites to be coordinated with Island Health, BC Housing

COVID-19: Saanich company joins nation-wide effort to produce 30,000 ventilators

StarFish Medical using a ‘purpose-driven design for rapid manufacturing,’ CEO says

Judge rejects pandemic as reason to grant bail to immunocompromised prisoner

Esquimalt man told there are more health risks for addicts on the street than there are in jail

Canoe found in men’s public bathroom in Cadboro-Gyro Park

‘Please do not park your canoe in our bathrooms,’ say Saanich parks staff

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

B.C. sorting medical equipment sales, donation offers for COVID-19

Supply hub has call out for masks, gowns, coronavirus swabs

B.C. records five more deaths due to COVID-19, 45 new cases

A total of 838 people have recovered from the virus

Major crimes investigating sudden death of North Okanagan child

The 8 year old was flown to Kelowna General Hospital and died hours later

Easter Bunny added to B.C.’s list of essential workers

Premier John Horgan authorizes bunny to spread “eggs-ellent cheer” throughout province

Travellers returning to B.C. must have self-isolation plan or face quarantine: Horgan

Premier John Horgan says forms must be filled out by travellers

More than 400 animals have been adopted amid pandemic: B.C. SPCA

People are taking this time of social distancing to find a loyal companion through the animal welfare group

VIDEO: More than 85 people displaced by Campbell River apartment fire

Traffic is being diverted around Dogwood Street and 9th Avenue

Thieves steal $5,000 worth of cigarettes and candy from semi trailer in Nanaimo

Culprits hit truckload in shipping company storage yard on Old Victoria Road on Monday

Most Read