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Bikes to be carried on Edinburgh trams for the first time as part of one-month trial

Campaign group urges 'careful and considerate use' to ensure trial becomes permanent...

Bikes will be carried on Edinburgh trams for the first time as part of a trial into joined-up sustainable transport.

Although only available at off-peak times, the one-month trial from May will be a first for UK tram services as a regular part of their service.

Throughout May, all services will carry bikes apart from on weekdays 7.30-9.30am and 16.00-18.30pm.  
There will only be access from the central disabled doors and passengers must hold their bike upright during the journey.

Additional regulations are:

  • On board staff retain the discretion to prevent cyclists from boarding with bikes if they deem a tram to be too busy.
  • Only two bikes will be allowed on each tram and in the specified locations on board during the trial.
  • Passengers with disabilities or those with prams or buggies are to take priority with regards to space.

The campaign group Spokes, which lobbied for a five year period for the trial to be held, has urged tram users to take up the offer, while cautioning them to be considerate and careful in their use.

The campaign website notes: “Most importantly, remember this will set a precedent for the whole UK. 

“If the tram staff ask you to wait for the next tram, please do so without argument at the time.

“If you think some rule or action by the staff is unreasonable, keep cool, follow their request, and email the problem to Edinburgh Trams later.”

The campaigners also note: “Of course bike carriage is only one tram issue affecting cyclists.   Whilst we had a big success here (assuming the trial is made permanent) we had a much bigger failure when trying to influence the initial layout of the tram tracks – otherwise a significant proportion of the tramline crashes we have seen could [in our view] have been avoided.”

Last year we reported how a report following an inquiry into cycling in Sheffield urged the city’s council to to appoint a cycling champion and for non-folding bikes to be allowed on the city’s trams outside peak times.

Overturning the ban on non-folding bikes on the city’s trams may be easier said than done.

South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) continues to oppose bikes being carried on Sheffield’s Supertram system, despite being urged to follow the example of London’s Docklands Light Railway in London, which now allows them outside peak hours.

And in November 2013, Supertram operator Stagecoach highlighted to councillors who oversee SYPTE what it saw as “safety risks” involved with permitting full-size bikes on trams.

Those included the “risk of conflict” between cyclists and other passengers; bikes becoming “projectiles” should a crash happen; and passengers’ clothes getting dirty if they brush against a bicycle.

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