Leader: ‘The injuries are certainly horrific’

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The picture of Chloe Torrance on our front page is shocking enough to stop anyone in their tracks. The risk in a city that has ambitions to be Britain’s most cycle-friendly is that it will stop new riders from taking to the streets of the Capital.

Chloe’s injuries are certainly horrific. If you saw the picture in isolation, you might think that the 24-year-old had been the victim of a particularly vicious robbery.

But they are simply the result of cycling along roads in Edinburgh that you would hope would be safe for all road users.

Of course, riding a bike does not come without risks. But badly maintained roads can be particularly treacherous.

Potholes, sunken drains and cracked road surfaces are a deep frustration to motorists. For cyclists, however, such hazards can mean risking life and limb.

The simple fact is that many of the roads in the Capital are in a terrible state. The city’s current Labour-SNP coalition cannot be blamed for that, given that it has continued to invest substantial amounts in road repairs. It can also be proud of its commitment to cycling, which, like road repairs, were established as priorities for the city by their Lib Dem-SNP predecessors.

But all of its good work is in danger of being undermined by the terrible state of the roads.

There is no quick answer to solving a problem caused by years of neglect. It will take many years of huge investment to return our roads to the state that all road users should be able to expect.

In the debate that will inevitably rage over the coming weeks about the city’s spending priorities, that reality must not be forgotten.

We simply cannot afford to stop spending on road repairs, for the sake of all road users.