These bus stops are discriminatory

Andrew Hodgson, the president of a charity for blind people, is highly critical of new cycling infrastructure in Enfield

Boarder bus stop in Enfield
New cycle lanes in Enfield potentially bring pedestrians boarding buses into conflict with cyclists

The National Federation of the Blind UK (NFBUK) is concerned that councils are ignoring their obligations under equality law and designing road layouts to make towns less accessible to blind people.

We have visited several areas recently where planners have clearly not considered the needs of blind and disabled people. The Mini Holland cycle lane schemes funded by Transport for London (TfL) have created real distress. In Enfield, bus bypass and ‘Copenhagen’ shared-use bus stops have been introduced, which force passengers to cross cycle lanes to board their bus – especially dangerous for those who are blind.

Research in Denmark revealed that bus stop boarders present a particular hazard for all pedestrians; their introduction led to an increase in collisions with passengers from five to 73 – a 1,725% increase in collision rates on what had been expected.

NFBUK has regularly pointed out the dangers of boarder bus stops for all passengers, but especially blind people. Bus stop bypasses – also known as ‘floating’ or ‘island’ bus stops – present dangers as well. After years of complaint about bus stop bypasses, TfL commissioned the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) to investigate how to improve safety. Their report last year recommended that zebra crossings be installed at all such bus stops, although TRL found little improvement in the numbers of cyclists who stopped for pedestrians after zebra crossings were added.

This story is published by Enfield Dispatch, Enfield's free monthly newspaper and free news website. We are a not-for-profit publication, published by a small social enterprise. We have no rich backers and rely on the support of our readers. Donate or become a supporter.

Other recent changes to road layouts have brought particular dangers for blind people. At some places in Enfield, pedestrians have to cross the cycle lane first before they reach crossing controls or get on or off a bus. NFBUK’s shared space co-ordinator Sarah Gayton said she was “shocked” at what she saw in Enfield and that bus stops which put pedestrians and cyclists in the same place at the same time were “inherently dangerous”.

If the needs of blind and disabled people had been properly taken into account in designing Enfield’s Mini Holland, we would not have ended up with this dangerous and discriminatory scheme. It is for this reason that we have recently supported a petition, organised by Enfield residents and submitted to the government, asking for a strengthening of the law relating to Equality Impact Assessments. If these administrations had properly fulfilled their duties in this regard we would not be having to fight such discriminatory schemes now.

NFBUK recognises the value of attempting to encourage more active transport. However, designs must enhance and safeguard the independent mobility of disabled and vulnerable pedestrians and their safe access on and off of transport, as well as ensuring the safety of cyclists. We are happy to engage with design teams to ensure future changes take the needs of all pedestrians into account

No news is bad news 

Independent news outlets like ours – reporting for the community without rich backers – are under threat of closure, turning British towns into news deserts. 

The audiences they serve know less, understand less, and can do less. 

In celebration of Indie News Week, Public Interest News Foundation's Indie News Fund will match fund all donations, including new annual supporter subscriptions for the month of June.

If our coverage has helped you understand our community a little bit better, please consider supporting us with a monthly, yearly or one-off donation. 

Choose the news. Don’t lose the news.

Monthly direct debit 

Annual direct debit

£5 per month supporters get a digital copy of each month’s paper before anyone else, £10 per month supporters get a digital copy of each month’s paper before anyone else and a print copy posted to them each month. £50 annual supporters get a digital copy of each month's paper before anyone else.  

Donate now with Pay Pal

More information on supporting us monthly or yearly 

More Information about donations