Simon MacMichael February 28 2018
Cyclists in Edinburgh have called for a segregated cycle lane alongside a planned extension of the Scottish capital’s tram system.
Since the service came into operation in 2009 more than 200 cyclists have required hospital treatment after crashing on the tracks.
In May last year, 23-year-old medical student Zhi Min Soh lost her life when her bike’s wheel got stuck in a tram track and she was thrown into the path of a minibus.
According to figures released by Edinburgh City Council following a Freedom of Information response, some 248 incidents involving cyclists were reported up to 2017, reports Herald Scotland.
An extension to the existing nine-mile route is planned to Newhaven to the north of the city centre and local campaign group Spokes Lothian says that the safety of cyclists is paramount.
The organisation’s spokesman, Dave Du Feu, said:”What the council did last autumn was the easy bit where they didn’t need to do much consultation, but another phase due to be implemented in the next month or so to do with advance stop lights and then another phase due to be implemented in the autumn which involve bit of physical work changing traffic islands.
“So they have this ongoing programme so they are kind of making the best of a bad job.
“It is not ideal but at least now they are doing all they can to rectify it as much as possible.”
Speaking about the original plans for the route, he said that there were “quite a lot of stretches where there is a big reservation between the two tram lines and that means you are using up space that could have been used at the edge of the road for segregated cycle lanes.”
The council, which has taken some steps to improve safety of riders when negotiating tram tracks on the existing route including a segregated cycle lane on Princes Street due for completion later this year, is also facing a lawsuit co-ordinated by Thompsons Solicitors by 152 cyclists who have been injured due to falls.
Stewart White, a lawyer at the firm, said: “The legal cases I’m taking forward continue to make good progress and I’m confident that they will be successful not just for our clients but as a consequence will result in improved cycling provision on the relatively short section of road where cyclists and trams interact on Edinburgh’s streets.”
A spokesman for City of Edinburgh Council said: “Pedestrian and cyclist safety are of utmost importance to the Council. Like all UK and European cities with trams, we welcome all research that helps us improve cycle safety around tram tracks.