Medical student killed on Princes Street was '˜bright star'

A MEDICAL student described as a 'bright star of the future' has been named as the cyclist who tragically lost her life in a collision on Princes Street.

Friday, 2nd June 2017, 10:43 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:40 pm
Zhi Min Soh

Zhi Min Soh was struck by a minibus after she fell into the vehicle’s path when her bike wheels got stuck in a tram track at the junction with Lothian Road.

Ms Soh, who is originally from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and was studying at Edinburgh University, was rushed to the Royal Infirmary but died a short while later.

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Cyclist killed on Princes Street tram tracks is named

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Floral tributes

Tributes have now been paid to the 23-year-old, who spoke four languages and was described as “well respected” by her medical school peers.

In a statement issued through Police Scotland, Dr David Kluth, director of undergraduate medical teaching at Edinburgh University’s medical school, said: “Zhi Min was a talented, thoughtful student, who was well-respected by her peers and always keen to help.

“She will be deeply missed by the medical school community.

“Our sympathies at this time are with her family and friends. We have all lost a bright star of the future.”

A number of floral tributes have since been laid at the site of Wednesday’s collision, which happened at 8.30am in the morning rush hour.

It is understood Ms Soh – who achieved four A*s in her A-level exams – began her medical studies at Edinburgh University in 2015, having previously studied at the International Medical University in Kuala Lumpur.

Ms Soh also volunteered as a tutor for a number of different organisations, including United Learning Centre, where she carried out weekly lessons in maths and English for Burmese refugees children aged between six and eight.

She also spent seven months volunteering as a tutor Precious Home, a children’s home in Malaysia for those aged four up to 18, and sponsored a child in India through the charity World Vision.

Ms Soh’s death has prompted calls for a safety review after lawyers accused the city council of ignoring their warnings over the risks of crossing the tracks.

One legal firm, currently representing 141 cyclists hurt from falling on the lines, said it warned the council two years ago that there would be a fatality if nothing was done to improve safety.

Figures compiled by Professor Chris Oliver, an orthopaedic surgeon at the Royal Infirmary, previously revealed a total of 252 people had been injured on Edinburgh’s tram tracks, 191 of them cyclists.

Floral tributes

News of Ms Soh’s death was met with an outpouring of sympathy on social media, dozens of readers expressing their condolences.

One described her death as a “terribly sad tragedy”, while another wrote: “My condolences to her family and friends, so heartbroken to see she died.”

Another said they were “devastated” for Ms Soh’s family and friends.

It comes after Brenda Mitchell, a senior partner at legal firm Cycle Law Scotland, called for an inquiry to be held in the light of Ms Soh’s death.

Ms Mitchell, who is also a member of the Scottish Parliament’s cross-party cycling group, said it was time for the council to stop paying “lip service” to cycle campaigners’ recommendations.

She said: “Given Professor Oliver’s report [and] the fact there are hundreds of injured cyclists it is time for an inquiry.

“Tragically a lot of these injuries are young cyclists – it’s absolutely appalling and I think Edinburgh city council need to do more.”

It was a view echoed by Green councillor Claire Miller, who said a Fatal Accident Inquiry was vital given the wider public interest in the tragedy.

In the meantime she said the council needed to document “as a matter of urgency” every incident involving people injured on the tracks.

Officers are still investigating the circumstances of Ms Soh’s death and are appealing for anyone with information to come forward.

Police Sergeant Fraser Wood, of Edinburgh’s Road Policing Unit, said: “This is a tragic incident and our thoughts are with Zhi Min’s family and friends as they come to terms with their loss.

“I would like to thank those who stopped in Princes Street to assist Zhi Min on Wednesday morning.

“A significant number of witnesses have come forward and we are continuing to speak to them as part of our ongoing inquiries. We will be in touch with all witnesses in due course.

“I would again ask anyone who may be able to help our enquiries to come forward and contact us as soon as possible.”

In light of Ms Soh’s death, the city council said it was “deeply saddened” by the incident and that it took the issue of road safety “extremely seriously”.

A spokesman added: “We will carry out a road safety assessment of the area, considering all users and aspects of the junction and its approaches.

“This will include consultation with key stakeholders and any findings that could lead to safety improvements will be carefully considered.

“Further, and more generally, we have invited Edinburgh Trams to review their day-to-day operations and consider any changes that can be made to enhance safety.

“The council and our partners take road safety extremely seriously and we constantly review the range of measures we have in place to ensure that the Capital’s roads are safe for all road users.”

Anyone with information about the incident can contact officers at Edinburgh’s Road Policing Unit on 101, quoting incident 643 of May 31.