Cyclists have made 196 successful claims against the City of Edinburgh Council after accidents involving the city’s tram tracks.
A recent freedom of information request has revealed that the accidents have cost the council £1,262,141, with claims dating back to the construction of the tram line in 2012.
There have been 422 incidents of injury or damage to bikes which have mostly occurred on Princes Street and at Haymarket.
The development is another black mark on Edinburgh’s current tram route, which faced major budgetary issues and delays before its completion in 2014.
Professor Chris Oliver from the Spokes Campaign, a cycling advocacy group in the Lothians, believes safety issues with the tracks were avoidable, telling road cc that:
“Spokes…originally advised prior to the construction of the Edinburgh tram line that the infrastructure should be protected and that cyclists should not be freely mixed with trams.
“An expert even came over from the Netherlands to advise but the advice was not heeded. There have been some recent improvements, but these have come slowly and too late.”
Zhi Min Soh, an Edinburgh University student, was killed after falling off her bike on tram lines in 2017.
At a vigil held in her memory earlier this year, a campaigner warned that while most accidents result in cuts and bruises, “any of these [accidents] could be fatal if a driver does not stop in time.”
In 2019, a judge declared that the road layout in Edinburgh city centre “constituted a significant hazard” to cyclists after two separate cases were brought before the Court of Session.
The Council stresses that lessons have been learnt from the first project and improvements have been made.
Councillor Scott Arthur, Edinburgh’s transport convener, told the BBC:
“It is important to note that some of these claims pre-date the opening of the line and the many safety improvements made since then.”
“I am committed to ensuring the safety of all road users, and I know that over the last five years, the council has been working on a phased package of improvements to cycle safety along the tram route.”
These measures have seen the introduction of red cycling lanes to guide cyclists away from tram tracks.
However, significant changes to the West End junction where Zhi Min died have not yet occurred, with plans to do so in the works.
Image ‘14-269 Edinburgh Trams at Haymarket – one of two; CAF Urbos 3 Tram No. 251 heads east towards York Place‘ by Clive G’ is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.