Edinburgh's cyclists to be given tramline safety lessons

Initiative follows series of crashes after Princes Street reopening

by Simon_MacMichael   December 8, 2009  

Edinburgh Trams.jpg

Edinburgh’s cyclists are set to receive lessons in how to ride safely across tramlines following a series of accidents on the Scottish capital’s main shopping thoroughfare, Princes Street.

The street was fully reopened to buses, taxis and bicycles on 29 November after more than two years of works to lay tracks for the city’s new mass rapid transit system.

But the BBC reports that since then, there have been at least six accidents involving cyclists who are not used to dealing with the tramlines. One cyclist, riding a recumbent, has even posted footage of his crash on YouTube.

Chris Hill from the website CitycyclingEdinburgh.info told the BBC Scotland news website: "The lines start in the middle of the street at the east end of Princes Street, they just come out of nowhere for cyclists.”

According to Mr Hill, “there are no signs or road markings to alert cyclists to the tram tracks and if one of the six people I have been told about, who have come off their bikes on the tram lines, had a bus behind them then they would have been squashed.

"It is simple stuff, we are talking about a bit of paint and some signs. At the moment the street is very dangerous to cyclists,” he added.

Mr Hill continued, "cyclists who are not confident are also going to avoid Princes Street, which is not what we want when Edinburgh City Council has signed up for 15% of journeys to be by bike by 2020."

A spokesman for Transport Initiative Edinburgh (TIE), which is in overall charge of the project, told the BBC: "We know from feedback from our consultation with other cities which have installed trams in recent years, that practical training sessions for cyclists may be helpful.

"With this in mind, Edinburgh Trams is funding a training session for cyclists which will take place next weekend.

"The training is being organised and carried out by independent specialist instructors, and is aimed at training and advising cyclists on how to ride safely in the vicinity of tram lines.

The session will be held this Sunday 13 December between 11am and 2pm, with the city's cyclists invited to come o Castle Street to receive instruction, which will include the opportunity to ride on a cordoned-off section of Princes Street, as well as in the traffic.

Speaking to the Edinburgh Evening Times, Susan Clark, deputy project director for Edinburgh Trams, said: "With the opening of Princes Street to buses, taxis and cyclists, it is important that care is taken to ensure that new traffic layouts and signage are followed.

"In particular, though, cyclists should take a number of measures to ensure their own safety when cycling near tram tracks. Other road users should also be careful not to force cyclists onto tram tracks and allow them plenty of room when passing or turning at junctions.

"Edinburgh Trams and the city council have worked closely from the outset with cycling groups, including Spokes and Sustrans to ensure a broad consultation."

Phase 1a of The tram system is due to be fully operational in 2011 and covers 18.5 kilometres from Edinburgh airport to Newhaven, with its 23 stops including Murrayfield Stadium, Haymarket, St Andrew’s Square and Port of Leith.
 

12 user comments

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i imagine that the local population can't exactly be ignorant of the fact that they've just got new trams. i myself have had a crash when crossing a drain cover. i've also fallen off when cycling on ice, when riding into a tree and in a number of other circumstances, none of which were preceded by clear warning signs or training courses.

where are the training courses? where?

jezzzer's picture

posted by jezzzer [339 posts]
8th December 2009 - 12:30

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jezzzer wrote:
where are the training courses? where?

I've updated the article with the date and time - this Sunday, 11am to 2pm, meet at Castle Street. If you go along, it would be good to hear about how it went and what your impressions were.

I was up in Edinburgh a couple of times last year for family reasons and was astonished at the scale of the works - first time, I thought the taxi driver from the airport was trying to pull a fast one taking me the long way round, but when I saw Princes Street I understood.

Of course, the new tram system seems to have got no news coverage whatsoever down in England.

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [7490 posts]
8th December 2009 - 13:39

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jezzzer wrote:
i've also fallen off when cycling on ice, when riding into a tree and in a number of other circumstances,

why were you riding into a tree? Big Grin

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posted by Fringe [1081 posts]
8th December 2009 - 14:55

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I hope I don't crash on my way to Castle street, oh the irony and drama, I wonder if I could sue. just kidding ^__^

posted by Alankk [121 posts]
8th December 2009 - 15:15

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This is being run and organised by Scottish cycling organisation the Bike Station - http://www.thebikestation.org.uk/blog/2009/12/7/tramtrack-cycling-event-...

posted by edinburgerbybike [1 posts]
8th December 2009 - 17:06

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Fringe wrote:
jezzzer wrote:
i've also fallen off when cycling on ice, when riding into a tree and in a number of other circumstances,

why were you riding into a tree? Big Grin

because i was going too fast, with insufficient grip to avoid it i guess...

and simon - sorry, i was being sarcastic. i won't be going to the training course.

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posted by jezzzer [339 posts]
9th December 2009 - 14:15

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jezzzer wrote:
i won't be going to the training course

sounds like it'd be a worthwhile trip up north given your record. maybe you could bring som o' that learning back to the west country Big Grin Big Grin

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posted by cactuscat [299 posts]
9th December 2009 - 14:20

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jezzzer wrote:
and simon - sorry, i was being sarcastic. i won't be going to the training course.

Sarcasm duly noted Wink

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [7490 posts]
9th December 2009 - 14:34

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cactuscat wrote:
jezzzer wrote:
i won't be going to the training course

sounds like it'd be a worthwhile trip up north given your record. maybe you could bring som o' that learning back to the west country Big Grin Big Grin

Smile ... most of the stacks when off-road, i should point out

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posted by jezzzer [339 posts]
9th December 2009 - 17:43

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jezzzer wrote:

Smile ... most of the stacks when off-road, i should point out

sounds like you'd be safer on the road! Big Grin

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posted by Fringe [1081 posts]
9th December 2009 - 20:32

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Just read the article ..... I knew there would be at least one positive aspect to being Blackpool Born & Bred .... my Dad taught me to ride tram lines when I were just a lad Smile Now, should I move to Edinburgh to use this rare skill? Probably not...

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posted by davejhall [2 posts]
10th December 2009 - 19:07

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You'd think that Edinburgh cyclists would be used to slippery and treacherous roads. Given that there are many streets not so far from Princess Street with treacherous cobbled roads that can take out the unwary on one of Edinburgh's many wet days, you'd expect the city's cyclists would be able to handle the conditions better than most.

I grew up in Edinburgh and lived there for 25 years incidentally. I'll borrow a bike from a family member and try out Princess Street next time I'm up.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [1941 posts]
10th December 2009 - 22:19

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