Floating bus stops on Pandora Avenue Victoria were supposed to make roads safer by keeping traffic away from cyclists.
But in installing them, B.C.’s Human Rights Tribunal says the City of Victoria discriminated against people who are blind.
“The bikes are completely silent to us,” said Graeme McCreath with the Canadian Federation of the Blind.
“So you can’t just step off and hope for the best.”
McCreath is one of Victoria’s approximately 400 blind residents. He relies on his guide dog, Marsh, or his sense of hearing to safely get around. He said it is impossible to safely rely on the dog or hearing when crossing a bike path on Pandora Avenue to get the “floating” bus stops.
“The problem is that you have silent fast bikes, and even when you have a dog or a cane, it’s not safe because a dog isn’t able to judge that like human beings,” said McCreath.
On Thursday, the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal ruled the floating bus stops along Pandora Avenue are discriminatory in their construction, failing to adequately address the issue of access by blind or visually impaired persons, leaving the City of Victoria on the hook.
The city says they will install four audible, flashing signals, like those in place along Wharf Street in 2021, something the tribunal ruled a reasonable solution.
But the Canadian Federation of the Blind said they’d like things to go a step further.
“They should be removed. They are a huge barrier that we can’t resolve,” said McCreath.
So-called “floating bus stops” are installed all over the world: from the U.K. Europe, and other Canadian cities.
For now, the tribunal says the City of Victoria shouldn’t install any additional floating bus stops.
A hearing to find a remedy for the city’s discrimination will be scheduled for a future date.