Cyclists suing council for £1m over tram track falls

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MORE than 100 cyclists are suing the council after falling foul of tram tracks – potentially landing the city with a £1 million bill.

Injuries range from losing fingers and teeth to having legs run over, with many victims needing to take time off work.

It is understood that around half of the 105 spills were at the Haymarket junction, and the majority involved cyclists travelling westbound.

The remaining cases mostly relate to Princes Street, at various points in both directions.

Individual payouts of up to £10,000 are possible, however serious cases could attract a considerably larger sum.

Solicitors at Thompsons said they were receiving calls from injured cyclists at a “steady rate” amid claims that recent changes to the Haymarket junction have made the route even more treacherous.

Many cyclists have fallen afoul of the tram tracks at Haymarket.

Many cyclists have fallen afoul of the tram tracks at Haymarket.

David Steel, who claims his head was nearly crushed by a bus when he fell off his bike while crossing tram tracks at Haymarket at twilight last January, said he feared that someone would be killed.

“I will never cycle over this junction again until it is properly redesigned and made safe,” he said.

“All of the road markings have now been removed, making it unfathomable.”

The News understands that the most recent accident took place at Haymarket on September 20, when a cyclist hit the tram tracks. The victim required hospital treatment after landing on his face and splitting his helmet.

David Steel fell off his bike at Haymarket. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

David Steel fell off his bike at Haymarket. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Mr Steel, 55, advised the council on making changes to the junction, but said he was disappointed with the “terrible” outcome.

He said: “It won’t be falling off their bike that will kill someone, it will be the poor person in the vehicle behind who can’t stop in time. There’s no need for it.”

Stewart White, a senior lawyer with Thompsons Solicitors, said: “Incidences of cyclists being injured by falls caused by the tram lines continue to happen, with injured people contacting the firm at a steady rate.

“So the problem is still there and Edinburgh City Council must do more to stop cyclists being hurt.

“While it’s to be welcomed that they did try and make some changes to Haymarket junction – where the majority of the accidents occur – the changes did not go far enough.

“The council must listen to the cycling community and make all the changes they are calling for.”

A test case which was due to be held at the Court of Session next month is understood to have been deferred until the new year.

City transport convener Councillor Lesley Hinds said: “We cannot comment on any pending case as that would be sub judice. Cycle safety is of utmost importance to the council and to this end we have gone to every effort to raise awareness of the impact of the tram on all road users.

“Since before the launch we have carried out extensive awareness-raising activity.”