Edinburgh roads: Locals shocked by new street markings directing cyclists onto oncoming traffic in Leith

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New Leith street markings “an accident waiting to happen”

New markings on a Leith street directing cyclists onto oncoming traffic on a one-way street will stay in place, a council has said, despite being described by locals as “an accident waiting to happen".

The new cycle lane with arrows painted on the road sends cyclists the opposite way at Water Street, which is a tight one-way cobbled street for vehicles just off the Shore. The new markings appeared last week and the City of Edinburgh Council is standing by the changes, which are part of an 18-month Low Traffic Neighbourhood trial period for cycling in the area called Leith Connections.

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One local resident, Colin Avinou, is worried that these changes could lead to a serious accident at the Leith street. He said: “They've just added arrows and signs for bicycles were I stay, its a one-way system, very narrow but the council have just added cycle arrows to encourage cycles to ride up a one way system! This is dangerous and could easily cause a serious accident.

The new markings on Water Street directing cyclists the wrong way up a one-way street.The new markings on Water Street directing cyclists the wrong way up a one-way street.
The new markings on Water Street directing cyclists the wrong way up a one-way street.

“It’s a bit of a rabbit warren here, as you are coming down the street it’s very narrow. The arrows are encouraging cyclists to go the wrong way in a one-way street. It’s an accident waiting to happen. There is new signage there but I still think the last thing drivers coming down that street are expecting is a bike coming up that street.

"I drive a van and obviously vans are a bit wider than a car, so I know how tight that street is already. If a bike is travelling up that street there is no space for a safe distance to pass if a van is coming down.”

Colin is particularly worried about the possibility of a serious accident at the bend on Water Street. He said: "Speaking as a cyclist also I can’t believe these new markings. There is no way I would cycle up that road. There is a bit of a tight bend on that street and you can’t see a cyclist coming up towards the bend at the same time, and there is no space to escape a crash.

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"I contacted Edinburgh council and got a general email back saying some of the changes were part of an 18-month trial period and that it would be reviewed. I just can’t get my head around it. This could cause a serious injury or even a death.”

Despite these local concerns, the City of Edinburgh Council has said the markings directing cyclists the wrong way up a one-way street will remain in place for 18 months as part of a trial scheme aimed at making cycling safer in the area.

Councillor Scott Arthur, transport and environment convener, said: “These measures allow cyclists to ride in both directions on a street that is one-way for cars. We’re introducing it on a number of roads throughout the city and this particular street is part of the Leith Connections project. It’s a trial, and we’re keen to gather views from cyclists and road users to see how they find it. The painted lines complement other changes we’ve made nearby to reduce traffic flow – which incidentally makes improvements like this possible – and the hope is that it will lead to a better, safer and more connected cycling experience overall.”

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