Bikes forced to cross lines at 40 degree angle - against council's own guidelines...

Cyclists campaigning against 'crazy death-trap' street planning in Edinburgh's Princes Street have discovered a section of cycle path that intersects with tram lines at an angle that could cause serious injury.

Although official advice to cyclists is to only cross tram lines at a 90 degree angle, the cycle path directs riders onto the tracks at a 40 degree angle, as illustrated in cycle campaigner Andy Arthur's photograph above.

TIE, the original company formed to build the tram system, said in a letter to a cyclist who had slipped over on a track: "The Edinburgh tramway crossings and junctions have been designed to ensure that cyclists are guided to cross the tracks at as near as possible to 90 degrees and no less than 60 degrees."

The photograph shows the painted cycle lane at the bottom of the Mound, on Princes Street, aligning to Hanover Street, which is part of the National Cycle Network.

Edinburgh Council also reinforce the 90 degree guidelines on their website.

As we reported at the weekend, the reopening of Princes Street has caused widespread confusion for cyclists, who feel that signage for cycle paths is misleading, forcing trams, buses and cycles to interact dangerously. Many city cyclists feel that tram lines are dangerous, because it's easy to catch a wheel in the gaps or to slip over in wet conditions.


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.


A V Lowe [621 posts] 5 years ago

The problem is exacerbated by the uneven surface either side of the rails which needs to be sorted out. ORR/HMRI standard is to have a rail head between flush with the road and -6mm - these rails are at least +6mm if not more in places and either side is a row of ridges, some approaching 10mm, when the DfT standards for white lining, and tramline paving is that it should not exceed 5mm, as a greater height of any ridge can deflect a cycle tyre.

Even cars have skidded and crashed where tram rails are standing proud of the road surfaces, infamously in the case of Roe vs Sheffield Supertram & Others. For much of the street the position would be greatly improved if the rails were the only 'ridge' to tackle.

notfastenough [3728 posts] 5 years ago

The first time this goes wrong the council/planners are going to be sued and the taxpayer will end up paying a second time. And then a third to revise the design.

paulfrank [93 posts] 5 years ago

Easy way out of this problem, don't use the cycle paths. The ones here in Telford are full of potholes and covered in broken glass, pretty sure they weren't designed this way but they never get cleaned up; they were however designed to go nowhere, start and stop in irrelevant or unreachable places or take you twice the distance and three times the time that the road takes. Always the same problems bad design, poor maintenance, and poor management.

vanzie [1 post] 5 years ago

It would be interesting to see the 'risk assessment' for these wonderful bits of street furniture. Councils are risk averse at the best of times how did this get through? clearly not planned as a cycle path that bit was an afterthought...

Stephan Matthiesen [67 posts] 11 months ago
paulfrank wrote:

Easy way out of this problem, don't use the cycle paths.

Ehm, you still have to follow the direction of the road. Do you know the actual location from first hand experience?

With all respect, but we locals are getting a bit tired from hearing again and again wise comments on this and other forums on how to do it properly from people who haven't actually seen the location. These are places where hundreds of cyclists have crashed within a few years, from beginners to most experienced cycling instructors.