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Cyclists sue over Edinburgh tram track crashes – two lead cases head to court… in 2019

Council argues that where lines must be crossed at an acute angle, cyclists should dismount

Two lead cases have been brought regarding the dangers posed to cyclists by Edinburgh’s tram lines – but they will not be heard until May 2019.

Earlier this year we reported how injuries caused be Edinburgh’s tram tracks over the last seven years have resulted in a bill for the NHS of more than £1m, with the vast majority sustained cyclists.

Two lead cases have now been brought and The Scotsman reports that following a brief hearing at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, a judge this week set an eight-day hearing in May 2019 for the two.

Lord Boyd of Duncansby also agreed to put another 39 actions on hold until September that year when a judgement would be available from at least one of the lead actions.

Elizabeth Fairley says that she dislocated her jaw and injured a knee after losing control of her bike as she approached Haymarket station travelling westwards in October 2013. Her wheel is said to have slipped on the tracks and then become caught in it.

This is said to have been one of “numerous incidents” resulting from cyclists crossing the line at an acute angle. She is suing Edinburgh Trams and the city council for £50,000.

The other case – a claim for £15,000 – is being brought by Ian Lowdean who fell on Princes Street in October 2012.

In both cases, lawyers claim that the number of accidents in Edinburgh to cyclists is “significantly greater” than in other cities where trams or light rail systems have been introduced

The council contests liability, arguing that the tram lines “… were clearly visible and did not present a significant risk of an accident to any careful cyclist exercising reasonable care.”

It said: “Careful cyclists requiring to cross tram lines should do so at as large an angle as possible, at slow speed and when taking care. If that cannot be done a cyclist should dismount.”

In June, 23-year-old medical student Zhi Min Soh was killed after coming off her bicycle on the tracks before being hit by a minibus.

Speaking at the time, a spokeswoman for Edinburgh council said it was “deeply saddened” by the tragedy and that a safety review was under way.

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