Cyclists steer clear of ‘lethal’ Haymarket junction

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A CITY cycling charity has unveiled its plan to fix the “lethal” Haymarket junction, despite council planners ignoring its original warnings over the site.

Spokes has drawn up an ambitious scheme which helps cyclists avoid the tram tracks while also steering them away from other blackspots.

A cyclist at the Haymarket tram tracks. Picture: Joey Kelly

A cyclist at the Haymarket tram tracks. Picture: Joey Kelly

The proposal involves creating a two-way cycle lane on the opposite side of the road which helps to avoid Haymarket Yards, flagged up as posing a danger to cyclists once trams become more frequent in May.

The plan also does away with a “dodgy” eastbound right turn across the tram tracks on to Torphichen Street.

Spokes’ vision would fit with the council’s own stated intention of creating an east-west family cycle lane running through the area from Roseburn to Leith. Since its reopening in October last year, numerous cyclists have been toppled crossing the tram tracks at the front of the rail station, with many falls being captured on video.

As early as April last year, the cycle charity warned that Haymarket’s confusing layout would result in accidents, but its advice was not heeded. There is no charge for its latest plan. The group hopes planners will now be more open to advice.

Ian Maxwell, of Spokes, said: “It is a very ambitious scheme, but it would fit with the council’s own east-west route proposals which includes an option going through Haymarket on a segregated route rather than using backstreets which is just as radical.

“Our proposal is basically the same as the council option, but with a two-way segregated cycle track also going up Morrison Street. Our suggestion is to modify the proposal and solve the tramline crashes problem.”

It seems Spokes’ plea isn’t falling on entirely deaf ears, as councillor Jim Orr, vice-convener for transport and environment, said: “We’re grateful to Spokes for their interest in helping us develop a planned family-friendly cycle route traversing the city centre from east to west and we’ll take time to consider their proposals. In the meantime, we continue to monitor the situation at the Haymarket junction and would reiterate our plea to cyclists to use the dedicated lanes available and heed the local signage.”

Regular Haymarket cyclist Shaun Scott, 32, from Saughton, welcomed Spokes’ plan, saying: “I think the only safe way through there is to avoid the tram tracks completely, which this would do.”