City cyclists in a spin over tram accidents
Edinburgh City Council is being criticised for failing to implement recommendations aimed at improving safety for cyclists around the city’s tram routes. This follows revelations that in the first phase of tram works starting in 2009, 74 cyclists suffered falls on Princes Street as a direct result of the tram works with six of these being reported in the first week alone.
A number of recommendations have been put to the council in a bid to reduce injuries to cyclists but only a handful of these have been implemented and only after numerous cyclists had suffered a fall.
The Scottish Government is also facing criticism this week with new figures showing the number of cyclists seriously injured on Scotland’s roads has risen by 13 per cent since last year. 156 serious cyclist injuries were reported to the police last year and charities are accusing the Government of failing to do enough to protect them.
Thompsons Solicitors is acting for a number of people who have suffered injury or damage as a result of the tram lines in Edinburgh. Partner Patrick McGuire said: “The situation in and around Princes Street is a fatality waiting to happen. In all the cases we are dealing with if the cyclist had been subsequently hit by a vehicle after falling from their bike then it’s possible they wouldn’t be here today.
It’s a disgrace that the council is continuing to bury its head in the sand and is refusing to implement simple safety measures to ensure the city centre is a safe place for all who use it”.
Sara Reed is an experienced cyclist from Edinburgh who recently sustained a broken collar bone and other injuries when her bike slipped and became stuck between the metal tram lines. She is appalled by the situation and said: “It is staggering that Edinburgh City Council knows that many cyclists are having accidents as a direct result of the tram tracks and have taken no action. I have commuted to work in Edinburgh by bike for 20 years and have never experienced a danger like this in the city. Edinburgh is no longer safe for cyclists - people are getting seriously injured and the Council needs to resolve the situation before someone is killed."
UK charity Cyclists Defence Fund is working alongside Thompsons to put pressure on the council to improve safety in the city. Chair of the Cyclists Defence Fund, Chris Field said: “Local cycle campaigners had repeatedly voiced concerns about the hazards of Edinburgh’s tram scheme. It is now all too clear that they were right – over 80 cyclists have been injured on central Edinburgh’s main street, and the trams haven’t even started running yet.
“But this legal challenge isn’t just about cyclists and tram-lines. It is about the duties of highway authorities to take proper account of cyclists’ safety, whatever they are designing. Given the media focus on cyclists’ deaths at Kings Cross or the Bow roundabout in London, this case clearly has a much wider significance.”
The charity will be co-hosting a public meeting with Thompsons later this month to launch a safety campaign calling for action to be taken to drastically improve safety before trams start running on the lines adding to the danger faced by cyclists. As well as the recommendations yet to be implemented, the campaign group will also call for the removal of shared tram and bicycle lanes; all tram line crossings to be marked; appropriate lighting; contrasting road surfaces; improved signage; removal of all motor traffic from the thoroughfare other than trams and the addition of bi-directional cycle lanes.
For further information or to arrange an interview please contact our 24 hour press office on:Tel: 07887 687318Email: