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Painted 'cycle lanes' are not really cycle lanes, says council...

One of Edinburgh's busiest shopping streets has been described as a 'crazy death trap' by cyclists who have been funnelled into multi-use lanes shared with trams, buses and taxis.

Princes Street, which reopened to buses early this morning after several years of renovations, including a new tram system, has been painted green on both sides with white bike signs betwen the tram lines.

Cyclists have been told that they should not cross the lines if a tram comes up behind them, but carry on, potentially delaying the service, the Scotsman reported.

There has also been confusion as to whether the green lanes, painted with bike signs, are actually bike lanes at all.

Official guidance to cyclists in publicity material advised: "Ensure you cross at an angle which is as close to 90 degrees as possible. Unlike buses, the tram path is fixed by the track - keep out of its way."

A council spokesman told the Scotsman that the new markings were not intended to create a cycle lane, merely make it clear that cycling was allowed.

A training video on the Edinburgh Trams website also states: "Unless you're turning right, it's better not to ride between the tracks. The tram can't swerve, so if something goes wrong the driver has to make an emergency stop and that can take the length of the tram.

Kim Harding, a qualified cycle trainer, told STV: "You assume it is a bike lane because they've painted bikes on the road, yet the advice previously has been to not ride between the tracks. This contradicts that.

"I think people will ignore the markings and ride on the left lane, but that just causes problems when buses stop and cyclists have to overtake, which means going over the tracks.

"I came off the bike once while crossing the tracks at a good angle before because it was wet.

More than two years ago, we reported how Edinburgh Tram was sponsoring training for cyclists around tram lines after at least six cyclists had accidents in the area. The work was halted and started again twice since then.

Financial services worker, Andy Arthurs, 29, from the Meadows, told the Scotsman: “It really is crazy, they’ve basically designed a death trap for cyclists. The tracks are wide enough to get your tyre stuck in so how you’re meant to navigate it I’ll never know.

“Danny MacAskill would have problems. It takes just ten seconds for anyone to see how stupid and lethal this is, so I really can’t understand how it’s made it through design and approval without anyone ever questioning it.”

A blogger called the Magnificent Octopus wrote online: "The tram lines have proven to be a nightmare for cyclists - set in smooth concrete or rough setts, with buses and taxis forcing your line and on dark and wet nights, many a cyclist has fallen victim to them and broken their... bones and their bikes.

"It was apparent that the people behind Edinburgh's tram had made absolutely zero allowance in their thinking around how cyclists might "interact" with tram lines when forced across them at shallow angles by poor road design and by other road users.

"It will be a matter of days before another cyclist is brought down here."

In the inter-war years when many UK cities had tram networks trams claimed the lives of many cyclists some celebrated ones amongst them including the celebrated French frame builder and racing cyclist Maurice Selbach who died after colliding with a lorry in South London in 1935 after his wheel clipped a poorly laid tram rail.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

17 comments

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northstar [1108 posts] 3 years ago
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Only in the UK could planners make something worse for cyclists - i'd use the "road" lanes

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amazon22 [244 posts] 3 years ago
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What a godawful mess - corporate vandalism with no fear of prosecution.

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mattbibbings [81 posts] 3 years ago
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This simply defys reason.

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Tony Farrelly [2868 posts] 3 years ago
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The Magnificent Octopus hit the nail on the head with his/her blog title "A bloody trambles"

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mad_scot_rider [581 posts] 3 years ago
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Only the council in charge of a city as basically un-workable as Edinburgh could have come up with the trams in the first place - let alone this total guddle

Mark my words - it'll end in tears

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OldRidgeback [2566 posts] 3 years ago
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Thing is, the trams could've been running already on old rail lines that ring and cross the city and which are currently converted into cycle lanes that are seriously underused due to the risk of mugging. Only an idiot would have signed the deal to build the tram network on Edinburgh's already crowded streets when there's a better, quicker and cheaper alternative.

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Simon_MacMichael [2448 posts] 3 years ago
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Mind you, the 2017 Tour de France Prologue could be fun if Edinburgh's bid gets the go ahead. They could set them off in pairs, Scalectrix-style...

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Cauld Lubter [132 posts] 3 years ago
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Madness. I really wonder what dumb bastard thought that one up.

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sunburnt [6 posts] 3 years ago
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Having cycled in Melbourne for years, where there are tram tracks everywhere, can I just say beware. Anything less than a MTB tyre will get stuck, and when it's wet they become as slippery as Ice. It takes a concerted thought to cross them as close to 90 degrees as possible when it's wet or otherwise you end up on your arse (with a tram stopping at speed behind you to add to the fun)

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Spooks [59 posts] 3 years ago
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You have to say only a fool would think of this but then only a fool would think that its a cycle lane, even with the markings. Agree with the rest of the report in that the tram lines are lethal and you wont see them in a dark winters eve. It only contributes to an already crap cyclists commute area that is Edinburgh

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Darkerside [75 posts] 3 years ago
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There's a ride going on today aiming to photo examples of the tram works 'cycling provisions'.

Hashtag #trambles

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wildnorthlands [32 posts] 3 years ago
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Tram tracks and bikes can work -look at the City Centre in Seville for example. Mixing them with buses and taxis as well though is going to make it too crowded for safe cycling.

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Raleigh [1665 posts] 3 years ago
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AGHHHHHHH.

STOP HASHTAGGING

THIS IS NOT TWITTER

#####

THEY DON'T DO ANYTHING!!!

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Simon_MacMichael [2448 posts] 3 years ago
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Raleigh wrote:

AGHHHHHHH.

STOP HASHTAGGING

THIS IS NOT TWITTER

#####

THEY DON'T DO ANYTHING!!!

Er, yes they do. Go to Twitter, enter the hashtag #trambles that Darkerside mentioned, and read the tweets.

Oh and #stopshouting  3

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Raleigh [1665 posts] 3 years ago
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They don't do anything on roadcc though.

 20

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bauchlebastart [92 posts] 3 years ago
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Crossing Edinburgh's tram lines with skinny tyres is fine....as long as it is dry. In the wet they are a death trap however, my back wheel hooked up twice on the wet rails trying to cross them, managed to stay upright but the second time I ended up with a buckled wheel and puncture doing a Freddie Flintstone with an LRT bus bearing down behind me.

Words cannot describe what a glorious fcuk up the whole tram project has been, but then why am I surprised when Edinburgh council is involved.

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notfastenough [3665 posts] 3 years ago
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F*** that for a game of soldiers, I'd be on the road taking the primary position.

Just wait until cyclists get stopped for doing just that. "You should be on the cycle lane!"