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

Hearing ahead for blind community’s B.C. Human Rights Tribunal case against Victoria bus stops

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

A human rights complaint filed by members of the visually impaired community in Victoria against the City of Victoria and BC Transit, for moving bus stops to the middle of the street to accommodate bike lanes, will proceed to a hearing in August.

Oriano Belusic filed the complaint in 2018 on behalf of the members of the Canadian Federation of the Blind, when members of Victoria’s visually-impaired community voiced their safety concerns about the bike lanes on Pandora Avenue. The complaint alleges the City of Victoria discriminated against the Federation of the Blind by introducing “floating bus stops” between the vehicle lane and the bike lane. People who want to use transit must cross the bike lane in order to get to the bus stop and while raised crosswalks are in place, people with visual impairments find it difficult to know when it’s safe to cross the lanes to the bus stop, without assistance.

RELATED: Blind community says bike lanes put their lives at risk

The BC Human Rights Tribunal denied an application by BC Transit to dismiss the complaint, which alleges BC Transit discriminated against members of the visually impaired community as well, by providing its service based on physical disability by operating at the floating bus stops.

Both the City and BC Transit deny discrimination.

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

The decision states BC Transit disputes the idea that it has a “duty to accommodate” members of the visually impaired community, including ensuring their safety and access to and from the floating bus stops. It adds, that BC Transit states that it had no role to play in the City’s decision to use the floating bus stops and while the Federation accepts that BC Transit wasn’t responsible for the design, it “is responsible for denying universal public bus transportation services” and failed to take “affirmative action to assist blind persons” to safely get to the bus stops.

Videos taken of the floating bus stop were shown to the tribunal and show the “majority of cyclists, while not stopping at the crosswalk, do slow markedly and respectfully for those waiting to use the crosswalk.” Although a “substantial minority” of cyclists filmed approach the crosswalk too quickly to be able to stop safely to allow a visually impaired person to cross.

“Transit has failed to convince me that the complaint has no reasonable prospect of success. The application to dismiss is denied,” stated Norman Trerise, tribunal member.



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC TransitCity of Victoria

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

Just Posted

Sooke RCMP are looking to add more members on their force, but they will have to seek approval from the District of Sooke before doing so. They say they need five additional members to accommodate 24-hour coverage of the region. (File - Black Press Media)
Sooke needs more officers to accommodate 24-hour coverage

District’s official community plan calls for 1 officer per 1,000 people

The Royal Canadian Legion kicked off its annual poppy drive in Sooke on Wednesday with the first poppies presented to Mayor Maja Tait and T’Sou-ke Nation Chief Gordie Planes. Legion representatives included legion president Richard Steele, second from left, and poppy fund chair Al Stuart, right. (Kevin Laird – Sooke News Mirror)
Mayor, T’Sou-ke Nation chief receive first poppies of 2020

Minimal Remembrance Day ceremony planned

Felix Townsin, shown here with his sister, Lexi, who died on Oct. 19, 2019. Felix is a big part of a family initiative aimed at finding a cure for Blau Syndrome. (Photo contributed by the Townsin family)
Quest to cure Blau syndrome a family affair

John Stubbs student produces film for late little sister Lexi

An incident on Sooke Road is slowing traffic Wednesday evening. (Courtesy of Mona Hazeldine)
Sooke Road incident snarls evening traffic

Witnesses report two-vehicle collision

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Newly public Emily Carr painting depicts well-known Victoria view

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

MMFN First Nation has said that it will restrict access to portion of Highway 28 that passes through the Nation’s land until a road use agreement is reached. (Black Press file photo)
Vancouver Island First Nation blocks highway access to logging trucks in Gold River

Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation restricting access for Western Forest Products pending road deal

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

Cowichan Search and Rescue set up near the Silver Bridge in Duncan on Wednesday morning, Oct. 28, 2020 to rescue a dog from the Cowichan River. (Citizen file)
Cowichan Search and Rescue save dog from icy Cowichan River

Search and Rescue’s swiftwater team was called in

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Oct. 27

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

The Calgary Zoo is aiding in recovery efforts for the Vancouver Island marmot, an endangered species. Pictured here, a marmot at Mount Washington. (Black Press file)
Despite challenges, 2020 good year for Vancouver Island marmot population

In 2019, the foundation counted 60 pups; this year, it reached 46

Most Read