Trams and cyclists have struggled to get into the right groove over the past year, with tracks regularly sending riders flying as they try to cross.
But that could all be about to change after transport chiefs announced that bikes will be allowed on trams for the first time.
Some cyclists will find this a very useful way of extending their journeyIan Maxwell
Edinburgh’s trams will become the first in the UK to welcome bicycles on board, during a special month-long trial throughout May.
Passengers will be asked for their feedback on the off-peak experiment, which is being carried out with a view to a permanent arrangement.
The pilot scheme was welcomed by cyclists, with many saying they would regularly use trams.
Ian Maxwell of Spokes, the Lothian cycle campaign, said: “We are really pleased that Edinburgh Trams will try allowing bikes during off-peak periods. We know that tram services in many other European countries allow this as a standard part of their operation.
“Some cyclists will find this a very useful way of extending their journey and we hope that this trial will lead to a permanent arrangement.”
Cyclists have voiced frustration at the restrictions on the year-old system, particularly given that bikes are allowed on to ScotRail train services.
Green councillor Nigel Bagshaw said: “It’s taken a while to get there, but I’m pleased to see bikes on trams finally being trialled in the city.
“Our trams are unfortunately not designed specifically to accommodate bicycles so we have to deal with the space we have.
“I can understand if there are concerns about the impact on disabled passengers and reducing capacity for other passengers, but experience from elsewhere in Europe shows that bikes can be carried on trams without problems if priority is given to disabled users and access is restricted to off-peak periods when the trams have adequate space.”
Cyclists will be able to board on weekdays until 7.30am, between 9.30am and 4pm, and from 11pm. Bikes will be permitted all day on weekends.
Only two bikes will be allowed on board at any one time, with cyclists directed to use the central part of the tram only.
Wheelchair users and passengers with prams will have precedence on crowded services, and tram conductors will retain the right to ask cyclists to disembark if the tram is too busy.
City transport leader Lesley Hinds said: “The trial will allow us to gauge cyclists’ requirements, so I would encourage passengers to let us know what they think to help us to decide on a long-term approach to bikes on trams.”
Edinburgh Trams general manager Tom Norris said: “We’re confident that the trial, and the resulting feedback, will allow us to understand the impact that permitting bikes on our trams has on our passengers.”