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)

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

Just Posted

VicPd are asking for the public’s help in finding Camper, a lost pit bull who ran away after their owner’s van was reportedly attacked by a man with a hammer on June 12. (Courtesy of VicPD)
Edmonton man reportedly smashes van’s windows with hammer while woman and her dog inside

VicPD are asking for help to find Camper, the woman’s dog who ran away during the Friday incident

Red arrow shows the existing warehouse that is home to a variety of specialized equipment used by the Capital Region Emergency Services Telecommunications (CREST). The service provider is looking for a new home that will protect the equipment in the event of an earthquake or other natural disaster. (Google Maps)
CREST telecoms look to find a post-seismic facility in Greater Victoria

The move will better protect equipment vital to its 50 emergency service clients across the CRD

(Black Press Media file photo)
FRESH AND LOCAL: Greater Victoria farm markets ready to greet shoppers

A list of markets on the go this spring and summer, right into fall

A client and a staff member embark on an art project at Oak Bay United Church. (Christine van Reewyk/News Staff)
VIDEO: Oak Bay group of adults with developmental disabilities promotes community inclusivity

Victoria Community Connections moved to Oak Bay late last year

Graeme Wright is the owner of Hullabaloo, a new ice cream and coffee food truck serving patrons at the Red Barn on West Saanich. (Photo by Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff).
VIDEO: Cool treats, warm bevvies a specialty for new Saanich food truck

Hullabaloo owner Graeme Wright passionate about blending green space with sustainability

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Condolences pour in for Kathy Richardson, Naramata’s 3rd homicide victim in recent weeks

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

Most Read