Trams: Cyclist accident fears at Haymarket tracks

Tram track 'victim' Sara Reed. Picture: Cate Gillon
Tram track 'victim' Sara Reed. Picture: Cate Gillon
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CYCLISTS fear Haymarket will become an accident blackspot unless bike lanes are moved further away from tram tracks.

Riders have slammed the new layout ahead of the planned end of the works at the busy junction later this year.

Under the design, cyclists are forced to cross two sections of track diagonally at the ­corner of Haymarket Terrace and Haymarket Yards.

Cycle lanes have also been painted hard up against tram tracks along a stretch of Haymarket Yards near the station, making it impossible for a bicycle and tram to pass each other.

Sara Reed, who suffered a horror crash after her wheel became trapped in a tram track, said: “Obviously a tram is wider than the track itself and it would just hit you.

“What if there’s a driver error or it’s really bad weather? Or it’s really busy and they don’t see someone?

“It’s an accident waiting to happen. I just couldn’t believe it when I saw it. I’m not anti-tram at all, but what I am against is no strategic planning to keep other road users safe.”

Ms Reed was cycling during rush hour on Princes Street when she fell off her bike in October last year, having crossed the tram tracks to ­overtake stationary buses.

She said of the Haymarket crossing: “However experienced you are as a cyclist, it doesn’t make any difference. The way they’ve designed it is inherently dangerous.

“You’re relying on the tram driver giving way to the cyclist. There is no margin for error whatsoever.”

Tram drivers will be given cyclist-awareness training and told to give way at junctions such as Haymarket by stopping vehicles if necessary. Cycling campaign group Spokes also has concerns about safety at the junction of Princes Street and South St Andrew Street.

Spokesman Dave du Feu said: “If you’re cycling straight ahead along Princes Street you have to cross the tram lines at a fairly unsuitable angle. That’s the one we’re most 
worried about.” Mr Du Feu said the problems stemmed from city officials designing the tram layout first and only considering cyclists and pedestrians later. At least four accidents with cyclists have been reported at the Haymarket and Princes Street hot-spots in the past year.

Green councillor and avid rider Gavin Corbett said: “I’ve been cycling through Haymarket daily for 15 years and know what an intimidating area it can be for cyclists.

“This corner shows that cyclists still seem to be an afterthought, at best. It is a recipe for a serious accident at worst.”

City transport convener Councillor Lesley Hinds said: “A tram would not be in this area when a cyclist is moving along the cycle lane because of the traffic light system that will be in place.

“Trams will share road space at points on the route, but drivers will be appropriately trained to interact with other road users safely.”