Cyclists injured by Edinburgh station anti-terrorism barriers

50-year-old man hospitalised after collision with pop-up obstacle

by John Stevenson   January 31, 2014  

No cycling sign

Pop-up anti-terrorism barriers at Edinburgh’s Waverley Station are turning out to be a serious hazard for cyclists, with several reported incidents of riders being injured after hitting the £1 million obstacles.

According to David O’Leary of the Edinburgh News, a 50-year-old man was sent flying over the handlebars in the most recent crash, yesterday morning. He was helped by a commuter with first aid experience before being rushed to the Royal Infirmary with what a Scottish Ambulance Service spokesman described as “severe head injuries”.

This is believed to be the fourth such crash this week as riders try and get to grips with the barriers.

Edinburgh cycling campaign group Spokes has criticised the small warning sign instructing cyclists to dismount.

Spokes’ Ian Maxwell said: “Network Rail needs to better indicate to cyclists the correct way to enter the station. There’s a major problem there, as shown by the number of accidents.”

But station management said it was cyclists’ responsibility to see and obey the warning signs.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “There are No Cycling signs at the top and bottom of the south ramp and cyclists should not use that ramp due to the risk of colliding with the barrier system. The north ramp – nearest Princes Street – has been adapted to allow cyclists enough room to cycle up and down and we would encourage all cyclists to use that ramp. We are also continuing to staff the ramps to discourage misuse of the system and assist permitted vehicles using the station.”

Signs at the top of the south ramp warn cyclists not to enter the underground station by this route, but it seems these are being ignored or riders are not seeing them.

A cycle lane has been included in the north ramp so that cyclists can get in and out of the station, bypassing the new barriers.

25 user comments

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Don't expect anybody in the privatised rail industry to give a stuff about safety; it's all about profit!

posted by Legin [36 posts]
31st January 2014 - 16:10

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I guess it's a question of whether th signage is good enough or not. If there is a risk of injury then it should be very prominent indeed. Not just "No Cycling" but "Danger - risk of injury to cyclists. Do not cycle over the barrier. "

And then anyone injured cycling over the barrier would be a numpty rather than a victim.

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [496 posts]
31st January 2014 - 16:15

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I don't know the site, but to me no cycling is usually shorthand for can't be arsed to sort the problem.

How often do you see cyclist dismount signs?

IF there is a real reason for not riding, which sounds like there might be, signs have to be very clear.

But, there has to be consideration given to desire lines, WHY are riders using this route and not the alternative?

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posted by mrmo [1008 posts]
31st January 2014 - 16:25

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Any pictures of the barriers?

posted by AyBee [57 posts]
31st January 2014 - 17:01

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A correction to the 2nd-last paragraph: there are no signs warning cyclists not to enter via the *north* ramp - this is the mandated cycle entry route from Waverley bridge. Except that it's mostly full of pedestrians, many of whom choose not to use the narrow, fenced, footway. Possibly partly because the roadway is a popular spot to smoke (normally, while standing directly next to the "No Smoking Here" signs).

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posted by adamthekiwi [36 posts]
31st January 2014 - 17:02

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The railway is owned by the government ask the share holders who lost millions when racetrack shares there withdrawn from the ft index Cool

posted by munro [4 posts]
31st January 2014 - 17:09

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Two points:

1.) If you need to put up signs to make cycling routes safe, then they haven't been properly designed.

2.) Regular cyclists are conditioned to ignore unnecessary "cyclists dismount" and other similar signs...

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1321 posts]
31st January 2014 - 17:32

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There have already been more cyclists injured here than people who were ever likely to be injured from any 'terrorist attack' that would be thwarted by these barriers.

As our American friends say, go figure.

posted by dp24 [138 posts]
31st January 2014 - 18:04

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Is this a case of Sorry Mate I Didn't See The Sign or Sorry Mate I Can't Be Arsed To Obey It?

Either way there is only one person to blame here but nevertheless I hope he makes a full recovery and has learned his lesson.

Never in a hurry on a bicycle.

posted by GoingRoundInCycles [134 posts]
31st January 2014 - 18:18

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What exactly do these barriers look like? I mean if there is an obstacle in my way I don't need a sign to tell me to try and ride over it. Kind of feel like that is common sense???

posted by jarredscycling [436 posts]
31st January 2014 - 18:44

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This is obviously happening because the barriers are not wearing hi-viz and helmets.

posted by Peowpeowpeowlasers [55 posts]
31st January 2014 - 18:56

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jarredscycling wrote:
What exactly do these barriers look like? I mean if there is an obstacle in my way I don't need a sign to tell me to try and ride over it. Kind of feel like that is common sense???

They are pop up barriers ....

Never in a hurry on a bicycle.

posted by GoingRoundInCycles [134 posts]
31st January 2014 - 19:12

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There is a photo on that link, not quite sure if people are cycling into the big obvious bit, or are riding over them when they rise.

Either way, bikes aren't meant to use this entrance.

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [438 posts]
31st January 2014 - 19:17

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Flying Scot wrote:

There is a photo on that link, not quite sure if people are cycling into the big obvious bit, or are riding over them when they rise.

Either way, bikes aren't meant to use this entrance.

I'm guessing that they're ignoring the massive "STOP" sign and just riding around it? There's only one person to blame for these and it's not the person who hasn't put up any signs. Use your common sense for f*ck's sake!

posted by AyBee [57 posts]
31st January 2014 - 19:38

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As a complete aside, I'm left wondering what part of those barriers justifies a cost of £1 million. Are they made of platinum? Or is someone making a shitload of money off of a possibly vastly exaggerated risk of terror attacks? Day Dreaming Nah ... can't be.

Work harder. Buy a tank.

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posted by userfriendly [205 posts]
31st January 2014 - 20:03

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If cyclists are allowed to bypass these anti-terrorist barriers on the north ramp how do they stop a terrorist on a bike? Just a thought! Thinking

posted by Juan Unoze [2 posts]
31st January 2014 - 20:40

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Hope the chap gets better soon. Cyclist have more right to use highways than motor vehicles.
Where's there's a route there's a cyclist. Road markings near to the bollard would be a cheap n easy thing to do.

posted by Guyz2010 [280 posts]
31st January 2014 - 22:38

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I hope he's ok and makes a full recovery.

On many previous articles there is always a lot of comment about the highway code and how motorists dont follow it - i suggest cyclists read it as well so they know what all the signs mean....... D Oh

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

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posted by stumps [2642 posts]
31st January 2014 - 23:03

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Stupid bit of layout on behalf of the station managers. In the good old days, you could drive down the north ramp and up the south ramp. This allowed vehicles to flow through the station. There was always plenty of space in the main foyer and also by the train display boards for people to stand around. But this sensible bit of design was changed to allow more space for more coffee shops and so on (as if there was any shortage) and it's become harder and harder to access Waverley station. I didn't know about these anti terrorism barriers but I have to say, it just falls into line with the stupid thinking over the way the station has been run for the last 20 years or so.


posted by OldRidgeback [2114 posts]
1st February 2014 - 1:06

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Plenty of reasons why cyclists would use the south ramp rather than the north ramp.

Depending on which side of town you approach from then that can be the first entrance you see which looks suitable for cycling (that's why I used it). It's also the quickest way in as you can take the lane and move at the same speed as the taxis into the heart of the station. It also never used to have any barriers at all.

Conversely the now mandated cycle route is chock full of pedestrians ignoring the segregated narrow walkway and also used to contain a barrier (it may still) which left a narrow gap (one person can squeeze through) which had to cope with 2 way pedestrian traffic, suitcases/bags and the odd cyclist trying to fit through.

It was simply more convenient and quicker to use the entrance they've now filled with anti terror barriers. Force of habit may well be a reason why many cyclists have been caught out/injured by them.

posted by wwpaddler [2 posts]
1st February 2014 - 1:10

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These are a costly and blindly formulaic (ie stupid to the highest level of Homers (Simpson) rating) and a fine cash cow for the makers of stainless steel bollards, and not only for Network Rail stations. You are invited to offer contributions to the 'Silver Stump Watch' compiled by my friend the Fact Compiler with examples like these. (along with Pointless Signs, Railway Gardens et seq)

(just outside the excellent meeting venue and cycle repair shop & cafe Simpre)


Such naive application of a formulaic diktat that every station needs to be encircled by a stockade of very expensive impact resistant bollards even when it is blindingly obvious that short of a hovercraft or jet pack assistance to fly through cycle racks and make 90 degree turns, these are a messy waste of money which makes either our security forces, or those who blindly apply these instructions* look like morons.

*Some years back a knee jerk reaction to a threat from bicycles parked on station platforms (clue it isn't likely to be the bicycle, its the bag left on the bicycle that is the problem) saw on train operator send out a contractor to cut off bikes from the bike rack (with no advance notice) and dump them in a pile in the car park - despite the local staff protestations that they could easily advise the many regulars to remove the bikes within a few days. technically this was theft, and the locks destroyed without prior and reasonable notice, criminal damage (which is why most Police forces will reimburse the cost of the lock if your bike is removed in a security alert (panic)). needless to say a few bikes were stolen, as no attempt was made to secure the pile of removed machines. (a high score in Homers that one - or maybe Clouseaus)

I've added a really glorious example from Liverpool Street, where you need to demolish cast iron bollards, go up a flight of steps and drive through around 40 filled bike racks to get at these ones, which in turn make it difficult to use the bike parking.

I'm just waiting for an emergency when the presence of these bollards in the exit routes will cause significant injury if not deaths when an agitated crowd surges through. I've had my own precognition of this when crossing Whitehall by Parliament Square. as someone with no understanding of pedestrian movement has placed a row of cast bollards directly across the place where the pedestrian crossing goes across at the traffic signals. These low, black painted and very solid items are just the perfect height to deliver an experience not far removed from castration without an anaesthetic. In any other situation a Health & Safety policy would identify them as a significant hazard and have them removed. Had I hit it any harder I might well have considered sueing.


47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

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posted by A V Lowe [468 posts]
1st February 2014 - 7:12

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The biggest fail here is not the bollards but the absurd 1metre wide pedestrian foot way, barriered on both sides and chockablock as it's the obvious entrance off Princes Street.

These rising bollards may be a hazard, but they are VERY conspicuous.

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [438 posts]
1st February 2014 - 14:36

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Ah. I've spotted the problem. According to many people on this site, if something is black, then you can't see it.

What colour are the barriers? Simple.

Actually, they might want to sort those taxis out too. How is anybody supposed to see those, etc. They should be fluorescent yellow and have comedy flashing LEDs, right?


posted by andyp [783 posts]
1st February 2014 - 17:09

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Am not familiar with Edinburgh, but it does seem that much of what is done on the basis of 'won't somebody please think of the terrorists' turns out to be nonsensical theatre that is likely to cause more damage than it will prevent.

I also think that part of the problem may be the general overuse of 'dismount' and 'no cycling' signs where there is no good reason for them, which leads to too many cyclists getting into the habit of ignoring them even where they really shouldn't.

And, yeah, as andyp says, surely, if certain posters on this site are to be believed, these bollards should be high-viz yellow or they might as well be invisible?

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [618 posts]
1st February 2014 - 17:35

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I had a look at this, firstly, there is another entrance for cycles, it has only one of these rising barriers and has a clearly marked cycle way that avoids them, it's off the same road and keeps you away from the taxis

Secondly, the barriers are black and yellow where you drive over them, and have lines of yellow reflectors on the high side when raised.

Finally, to hit the raised side, you need to go through 2 red lights and then chichane round a wee gap between 2 lowered stop barriers.

The other way, you've traversed a red light to hit it rising.

This all assumes you've missed the no cyles signs and the official cycle route signs which take you into the other entrance.

Both entrances hit the edge of the middle third of the station and are about 80 yards apart.

So, I don't know how you get walloped here, unless you really just ride everywhere expecting a red carpet rolled out in front of you.

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [438 posts]
13th February 2014 - 18:54

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