Edinburgh cyclists are suing the city council for £1 million over accidents and injuries allegedly caused by tram track placement. Up to sixty cyclists have joined the lawsuit, although it has been suggested that this amounts to only a third of those affected by tram track-related accidents.
The lawsuit focuses mainly on the track placement at Haymarket junction and the west end of Princes Street, claiming the track placement and signs visible to cyclists amount to major safety negligence on the part of the city council. City council spokespeople declined to comment on the impending lawsuit, claiming the case is not yet open to public discussion under the sub judice rule. The first court cases are set to be held in early November.
Edinburgh city cyclists have condemned the placement of tram tracks since construction on the tramways finished in 2013. The main issue cyclists have found is that the tracks and bike lanes often coincide so that riders are forced to cross tracks at dangerous angles. This results in wheels getting caught in the track grooves or slipping on the steel tracks, especially in Edinburgh’s notoriously rainy weather.
David Steele, Edinburgh resident and elite international cyclist is one of the cyclists who is taking part in the lawsuit after experiencing a fall which left him out of work and injured for six weeks.
“You need to be crossing tram tracks at at least a 90 degree angle,” he told BBC News.
“Less than a 45 degree angle should be avoided but at Haymarket you are forced on to them at a 15 degree angle, its criminal. I never fall off my bike but I couldn’t see my back wheel and it caught in the tram tracks and I was off my bike before I knew what was happening.”
The worst injuries that have occurred have been broken collarbones, jawbones, feet and legs, either from the fall itself or by cars or buses running over or clipping the fallen riders. Minor claims include sprains and bruises, ripped clothing and damaged vehicles; bikes or otherwise.
Those who have joined the lawsuit include a senior police officer, a firefighter, and two doctors, as well as teachers, professors and public advocates.
“It is the city’s responsibility to its citizens to try and fix as many potential safety issues as possible, especially those which crop up around public development projects funded by tax payers’ money,” Alex Hoover, an Edinburgh cyclist who has recently joined the lawsuit, told The Student.
“When a public safety breach this heinous has gotten as far as it has without any change being attempted, that’s when we as citizens are forced to step in to protect ourselves and our fellow residents.”
Image: Most of the accidents involved in the lawsuit took place at the west end of Princes Street and Haymarket Junction.
Image credit: Peter Trimming