Haymarket changes fail to make it safer for bikes

Cyclists are being sent into a taxi drop-off zone and a dedicated set of traffic lights. Picture: Jane Barlow

Cyclists are being sent into a taxi drop-off zone and a dedicated set of traffic lights. Picture: Jane Barlow

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CYCLISTS are still being toppled at Haymarket – despite a slew of changes to make the junction safer by city chiefs.

At its peak cyclists were being sent crashing to the road on a daily basis as they attempted to navigate across tram lines outside the train station.

However, an Evening News probe can reveal there are still several accidents a week at the blackspot – with the latest involving an experienced member of a city cycle club, who was sent over his handlebars and left badly grazed and bruised.

A further two cyclists were also unseated last week as they navigated the busy junction in wet conditions.

The problem lies with both the road’s tram lines snagging bicycle wheels and the confusing road layout.

Cyclists are currently being sent into a taxi drop-off zone – and a dedicated set of traffic lights – to control their flow over the tram tracks while making the crossing angle less dangerous.

City cyclist Keith Donald, 64, from Corstorphine, attempted the junction for the first time on Friday and found it “all very confusing”.

He said: “I was pre-warned of the problems after reading about it in the papers so I knew a little of what to expect.”

While regular cyclist Shaun Scott, 32, from Saughton, said: “I cycle through it most days and I’ve seen a number of people get their wheels caught.

“I usually stay out of the taxi drop-off and bunny hop the tram lines. Why would I give up a green light and turn into the taxi drop-off?”

Since its reopening in October last year, several changes have been made such as the relocation of the taxi rank from in front of the station across the road to the north side of Clifton Terrace in a bid to stop over-ranking taxis pushing cycles towards the tram tracks at an acute angle.

Additional road markings and signs have also been erected to direct cyclists into the taxi drop-off.

City cycle charity Spokes warned as early as April last year that the layout would result in accidents, however its advice was not heeded.

Now in a bid to put it right it is asking for coloured road surfacing to be put down to better instruct cyclists.

Ian Maxwell, of Spokes, said: “It is a very busy and complicated junction, removal of the taxi rank has helped but more road markings and signs are needed to make it safe for cyclists.

“We’d like a coloured surface laid down, much like the council has recently installed at West Maitland Street.”

City transport convener Councillor Lesley Hinds said: “Although we are aware of a recent incident, we feel that the changes introduced in the area have significantly improved the situation.

“We will of course continue to monitor this area closely and will take further action if required.”

Meanwhile, the council has issued the following advice to those cycling near tram tracks: “Anyone cycling near to and around the tram tracks should take care while they get used to them, especially in wet weather conditions as the tracks will be slippery. It’s best to cross the tracks as close to a right angle as possible and to take extra care avoid getting wheels caught in between the rail grooves.”