I was pleased to read recently in the Evening News that the City of Edinburgh Council has at last considered an alternative proposal to the status quo in Princes Street in Edinburgh. There have been in the region of about 150 accidents on Princes Street since September 2009 involving cyclists and the tram tracks. The reason for this is that the council decided to remove cycling provision on the street and replace it with tramlines to the extent that they even painted a bicycle in the middle of the tram lines at the west end in order to guide cyclists down that road, in short, a death trap!
The good news is that the council is reconsidering a loop system whereby they close the north side of Princes Street and pedestrianise George Street. The idea would be to direct cyclists who would otherwise go along Princes Street, to George Street allowing them to continue their journey safely without fear of tramlines, buses, cars, taxis and other traffic in a safe and sufficient manner. I am confident that this provision will almost rule out the accidents that have been continuing to happen on Princes Street.
In the meantime and indeed until the council gets its act together, cyclists are still being injured on the street and the sooner the council takes action, the better. Indeed, in November 2012, there were six accidents involving cyclists. As a cyclist myself I wouldn’t dare of coming anywhere near the city centre on my bicycle, that could possibly change if the council implement this proposal and also improve the quality of the roads.
Suffice to say, the council has still to rubber stamp this idea and it is of little surprise that this idea has been thrust into the limelight in the same month that council chiefs will consider the petition that we supported in association with Spokes and the Cyclists Defence Fund.
I now look forward to the council endorsing this idea, and dare I say it, making safe provision for cyclists in the city centre and making it a pleasant place for not only cyclists but for everyone.