Make Edinburgh’s tram tracks safer now, say cyclists

Thursdays accident happened less than a hundred yards from where Zhi Min Soh was killed in a similar incident in May.
Thursdays accident happened less than a hundred yards from where Zhi Min Soh was killed in a similar incident in May.
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CAMPAIGNERS have called for immediate action to make the Capital’s tramlines safer after another cyclist was hospitalised.

The 25-year-old escaped with a leg injury when she collided with a bus after the wheels of her bicycle became stuck in the rails on Shandwick Place at around at 3.55pm on Thursday, less than a hundred yards from where a student was killed in a similar incident in May.

Malaysian Zhi Min Soh, 23, was struck by a minibus and later died from her injuries when her bike became jammed in the tracks at the junction of Princes Street and Lothian Road.

An investigation into the incident has since been launched by the Crown Office, and a safety review is underway but cycling activists want to see more short-term measures put in place to ensure their safety.

Ian Maxwell, of cycling campaign group Spokes, said: “The council have taken steps to improve road conditions for cyclists, particularly in areas with an increased risk through road markings at Haymarket, but we feel that there is more that could be done in the short-term.

“Painting road markings around Shandwick Place and at the junction between Lothian Road and Princes Street would be a low-cost and minor measure that could save lives.”

He added: “Longer term we’ve put proposals forward to the council for a segregated cycle lane along North Princes Street and in future we’d like to see the centre of Edinburgh become less of a hive for traffic.

“The city has thousands of cyclists but it could and should be a lot safer to cycle in.”

In addition to the increased presence of road markings, campaigners say they have also investigated the possibility of inserting rubber tubing inside the tramlines to prevent bike tyres from slipping into the gap.

However, Conservative group leader Iain Whyte said council chiefs hadn’t done enough to publicise an alternative route along George Street.

Mr Whyte said: “There is a dedicated cycle path running along George Street that is clearly a safer option without the danger of running into any trams.”

“However the council have done nothing to remind cyclists of this, particularly those new to the city, so barely any road users know that it’s there.”

Edinburgh council officials have promised any future tram line extension would “prioritise pedestrian and cyclist safety and convenience”.

Cllr Lesley Macinnes, Transport Convener, said: “Pedestrian and cyclist safety is a major priority for the council and our partners and we are examining cycle safety in the wake of the tragic fatality on Princes Street in May.

“One of the key steps planned is to consult with pedestrian and cycle groups on a review of the infrastructure around the junction to ensure cyclists and pedestrians can use this junction safely and conveniently.”

Police said investigations into Thursday’s crash are ongoing and have urged any witnesses to get in touch.

newsen@edinburghnews.com