Lawyers say action must be taken to prevent what they see is an "inevitable" cycling fatality on Edinburgh's new tram lines, following a raft of injuries to cyclists, including broken collarbones and broken legs.
Thompsons Solicitors is dealing with nearly 100 claims against Edinburgh City Council following tram track injuries. One rider reportedly broke three teeth and lost the end of a finger as well as suffering a damaged shoulder and pulled hip after falling on the tracks.
Thompsons says it is the council's statutory duty to act, and are calling, along with the local cycle campaign, Spokes, for a cycle route to guide riders over the tram lines at a safe angle.
Patrick McGuire, a partner at the firm, told BBC Scotland: "We’ve had people who’ve lost finger tips, we’ve had people who’ve had broken collar bones, we’ve had people who’ve had broken legs.
"To my mind, it’s absolutely inevitable that unless something happens we will see a death on the streets of our capital city."
The first test case against the city council is due in November, and Thompsons expects individual payouts of up to £10,000 if claims are successful. They cyclists should lodge a claim if they are injured.
Spokes, the Lothian cycle campaign, says collisions are happening to experienced riders as well as novices, the main black spot being the route West from Morrison Street to Haymarket Terrace, which it says has seen as many collisions as all other sites put together.
Spokes has suggested a segregated cycle route along this section, which would then cross the tram lines at 90 degrees.
Image courtesy of Spokes
The Spokes website says: "You can cross the lines safely for months, but then something goes wrong – it’s dark and wet, a vehicle forces you sideways, you swerve for a pothole, you hit a point where the tramline is marginally too high, or countless other reasons. So, always be ultra-aware!"
The campaign group says original designs did not take into account interaction with other road users, particularly cyclists.
Lesley Hinds, Edinburgh Council transport convener, said: "We have always encouraged cyclists to take care when travelling near the tram tracks, especially during wet weather when they can become slippery.
"The council advises that it’s best to cross the tracks as close to a right angle as possible and to take extra care to avoid getting wheels caught in between the rail grooves.
"We have also installed signage which helps to guide cyclists along the safest possible routes."
The City Council is recording collisions, which can be reported by phone to 0131 338 5844 or email trams [at] edinburgh.gov.uk or in writing to Tram Depot, 1 Myreton Drive, Edinburgh.