Campaigners accuse floating bus stops of 'excluding blind people'


Campaigners have called for a rethink on ‘floating bus stops’, which require passengers to cross cycle lanes to board buses, highlighting the danger they pose to visually impaired people.

Sarah Leadbetter, national campaigns officer at the National Federation of the Blind of the UK (NFBUK), and Sarah Gayton, street access campaign coordinator at NFBUK, gave a presentation at Traffex on the issue arguing that changes to bus stops over recent years to accommodate cycle lanes have resulted in new accessibility barriers.

They showed a film on how the design of floating bus stops, also known as bus stop bypasses, brings passengers and cyclists into conflict and that direct access to and from the bus from the footway is needed.

The film showed a number of locations where cyclists failed to stop for both sighted and blind passengers at zebra crossings linking the footway with a bus stop.

In one example, which was created for demonstration purposes, a blind man stood at the side of a cycle lane but was passed by cyclists on 25 consecutive occasions.

One cyclist stopped after passing through the crossing to help the man cross while the 26th cyclist stopped before the crossing to offer assistance.

The man featured in the film commented that bikes are so quiet that he was not able to hear them coming towards him or passing and did not even feel the draught created by their movement past him.

The campaigners added that removing safe access to board buses also leads to many people with disabilities staying at home.

A number of comments from the audience suggested that the problem was as much about the behaviour of cyclists in not stopping at zebra crossings and a lack of enforcement.

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