Edinburgh cyclists sue council over tram track accidents

'If you don't hit the tracks at exactly 90 degrees ... there is a very good chance you are going to come off.' File picture: Ian Rutherford

'If you don't hit the tracks at exactly 90 degrees ... there is a very good chance you are going to come off.' File picture: Ian Rutherford

61
Have your say

A SPECIAL coating designed make Edinburgh’s tram lines less slippery is to be considered as the number of cyclists lodging injury claims over falls continues to rise.

Council chiefs are looking at introducing the measure, which is still under development, as part of efforts to boost safety.

Mary Ranson was injured after cycling across tram tracks. Picture: contributed

Mary Ranson was injured after cycling across tram tracks. Picture: contributed

The move comes as lawyers at Thompsons Solicitors reveal they are representing 110 cyclists who claim they have been hurt after falling on tram tracks. The figure is up from 105 in October last year.

Transport leader Councillor Lesley Hinds said: “We constantly monitor new developments so that our resources can be targeted to ensure best value. We understand there is work ongoing to develop skid-resistant materials specifically for tram tracks and we are interested to see how this progresses.”

Jayne Crawford, a partner with Thompsons, has called on the city council to act before someone is seriously injured. She said: “As each month passes, concern grows within Edinburgh’s cycling community that accidents on the tram lines still continue to happen.

“We’re about to enter the festival season when we welcome tens of thousands of visitors from all over the world. Many of them will choose to cycle round our beautiful city. I fear it’s inevitable that some will be injured on the tram lines in similar circumstances to permanent residents.

I went to turn right and my front wheel got caught in the tram track and I fell off. When I looked up there was a tram there. It had stopped not far from my head.

Mary Ranson

“The people who run our city know we all benefit greatly from these visitors and they have a duty of care to protect them as well as permanent residents. Other cities in the UK have managed to make their trams lines safe for cyclists so it’s about time Edinburgh City Council did the same by taking quick and decisive action. Quick fixes and half measures simply will not do.“

Among the cyclists pursuing an injury claim is Mary Ranson, a 21-year-old geography student who fell off her bike on Princes Street on March 25.

She said: “I went to turn right and my front wheel got caught in the tram track and I fell off. When I looked up there was a tram there. It had stopped not far from my head. I ended up in Accident and Emergency and I have long-lasting damage to my right leg and it is never going to be as strong as it was. I’m pretty terrified of the trams now. I don’t enjoy cycling any more and I avoid cycling on Princes Street.”

Another cyclist, who did not wish to be named, added: “If you don’t hit the tracks at exactly 90 degrees, it is such a polished, smooth surface your tyres come away from you and there is a very good chance you are going to come off.”

However, Ian Maxwell, spokesman for cycling campaign group Spokes, said the solution lay in the road layout.

“If you look at Haymarket they have painted direction lines on the road to lead cyclists into crossing the tracks at a far safer angle,” he said.

john.connell@jpress.co.uk