New tram policy claim payments rise from Â£10,000 to Â£100,000
Edinburgh Trams insurance premiums have risen to almost Â£1.4m following an average of one claim a month by cyclists and motorcyclists
The route, which has been criticised by cyclist groups has resulted in a number of accidents with cyclists often getting their tyres stuck in the tracks.
Most notably, Zhi Min Soh, a medical student, was killed in a collision with a minibus after becoming stuck in a track in Princes Street.
A report to the finance committee showed that the policy has shown that the excess – the amount the trams are responsible for paying in each accident claim– has risen from £10,000 to £100,000.
No money has so far been paid out however with no cyclists who have claimed yet settled.
Speaking to The Herald Stephen Moir, council executive director of resources said: “The claims history for this policy is poor and this allied to the uncertainty around the outcome of litigated claims involving injury to cyclists was likely to make the policy unattractive to insurers and would lead to premiums increasing significantly.
“Due to the poor claims history, the uncertainty around litigated cyclist claims and the fact there have been three rises in insurance premium tax in the last two years from six per cent, to 10% and then 12% and with further rises likely, the council had budgeted for an increase to current premiums with annual indexation.”
Dave Du Feu, of campaigners Spokes Lothian, said: “It is very unfortunate the layout of the original tram has resulted in so many tramline crashes and injuries, and hence so many claims against the council.
“This should be yet another reason for the council to rethink its plans for Leith Walk between Pilrig and Foot of the Walk, which introduce additional traffic lanes and therefore squeeze cycle and pedestrian provision intolerably.
“The proposed cycle provision will force people to cycle close to the tramlines when overtaking parked vehicles, and any traffic moving out can inadvertently force the bike into the tramlines.
“This will be a considerably worse situation than the Princes Street layout, where the only traffic is buses and taxis. A rethink is essential. The present proposal not only endangers cyclists but creates very bad pedestrian conditions.”
A City of Edinburgh spokesman said: “Following a robust tendering process, two bids were received for the contract, with one bid being fully compliant with requirements. A report outlining recommendations will be discussed at the meeting of the Finance and Resources Committee.”The latest cost controversy to hit the trams comes after earlier documents showed 248 cyclists claimed to have had accidents caused by Edinburgh’s tram tracks since 2011.
152 cyclists have so far moved to sue the council through Thompsons Solicitors.