Police have appealed for witnesses after a blind Edinburgh pensioner was left bruised and bleeding after being hit by a cyclist on one of the city’s shared use public walkways. Sandy Elliot, a 67 year-old former baker, was knocked over while out walking with his dog Yeoman just off Warriston Road, near the Royal Botanical Gardens. While the walkway is intended for both pedestrians and cyclists, Mr Elliot says the individual concerned failed to ride with due consideration for other path users.
“I didn’t hear a thing but he must have been travelling at some speed because his helmet smashed into my face, and his bike crashed into my body and knocked me to the ground,” he recalled when speaking to the Scotsman.
"He got up and said, 'Sorry, I was looking at my legs' and then I heard him pick up his bike. He said sorry a few more times before speeding off, leaving me lying there by myself."
Mr Elliot said he was lying on the ground for a full two minutes before another cyclist came by and helped him to his feet, joined by two further members of the public.
The pensioner returned home but later discovered swelling on his right knee, while he had also suffered numerous cuts on his arms. After feeling sick later that evening he was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where an ophthalmologist discovered haemorrhaging behind his eye, while X-rays revealed a possible fracture to his eye socket.
The failure to call for assistance has aroused anger among Mr Elliot’s family, while the accident itself feeds into a wider sense of discontent about the behaviour of some cyclists on shared use paths. Critics of shared routes paths have long questioned the wisdom of combining potentially fast moving cyclists with pedestrians on such facilities, while advocates will point out that while cases of antagonism between cyclists and pedestrians on busy stretches of such paths may be fairly common incidents such as this one are mercifully rare.
Edinburgh has an extensive network of shared pathways and Ian Maxwell, a representative of The Lothian Cycle Campaign Spokes told the Scotsman that bike riders must ride responsibly when using them: “Cyclists need to keep speeds low on these paths, let people know they are about to pass them and take extra care around dogs and children. It is about common courtesy really,” he said.