Leith Walk resident calls for clearer signs for cyclists after near miss

A Leith resident has asked Edinburgh City Council to adequately signpost diversions for cyclists on Leith Walk after several near misses for pedestrians.

Monday, 22nd March 2021, 12:30 pm

The call was made after boundary fencing for the installation works on Leith Walk for tram lines and cycle lanes was moved a few feet back and, as a result, now infringes on the pavement.

This has led to a narrow pathway for pedestrians to try to navigate whilst abiding by social distancing rules.

But pedestrians also have an added danger as cyclists have continued to race through the thin strip of pavement as it is believed that the signs diverting them down Arthur Street are not clear enough.

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Siobhain Jamieson, a local resident, has spoken of having to peak her head around her flat entrance to ensure she is not knocked off her feet by a speeding cyclist.

She said: “They have moved the barriers towards the houses and shops in order to carry on with building the cycle lane. I think the plan is for a diversion for cyclists through Arthur Street but they are still coming down Leith walk between Balfour and Pilrig street.

“It is an extremely busy walkway and someone has to ensure that cyclists are properly signposted. At the moment the signs are not clear with regards to where those on bikes are to go and signs pinpointing Arthur Street as the diversion are hidden behind trees.

“This is a disaster waiting to happen. On Friday morning I was almost flattened by a cyclist and I worry for some of the elderly residents who use the launderette on that stretch. Surely we cannot be expected to have to peer around corners to check the pavement is clear before stepping out.”

Thin stretch of pavement where pedestrians have had near misses with cyclists

Siobhain added that she understands that these works are necessary but that she feels more emphasis has to be put on keeping people safe on Leith Walk.

A council spokesperson said: “We appreciate residents’ comments about changes to the footpath layout on Leith Walk and we’re continuing to monitor and make improvements where possible. Yesterday we installed two passing points between Pilrig Street and Balfour Street based on residents’ feedback and will soon be installing another passing point between McDonald Road and Annandale Street. This afternoon we’re putting in extra signs and have re-positioned several signs to move them more into cyclists’ eye line.

“We’re also going to extend the fence line on Annandale Street down to the pedestrian crossing to ensure pedestrians cross at the safest point while also directing cyclists to the diversion. We’ve created this alternative route for people cycling to limit interactions with pedestrians and are encouraging the public to give one another space where they can. However, we understand people’s concerns and will continue to assess the situation and liaise with the relevant parties.

“These changes to the layout will allow us to deliver a segregated cycle way as part of the Trams to Newhaven project and we’re working to complete construction as soon as we can.”

Diversion sign for cyclists hidden behind tree

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Narrow stretch of pavement