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Edinburgh plans early release traffic lights for cyclists following tram track death

Consultation runs until April 11

Cyclists could get a head start at traffic lights under plans announced by Edinburgh Council. The city has been reviewing safety around tram tracks since the death of cyclist Zhi Min Soh last year.

The Malaysian medical student was hit by a minibus after being thrown from her bike when its wheel became trapped in a tram track.

Hundreds of cyclists have been injured on Edinburgh’s tram tracks at an estimated cost to the NHS of more than £1m. Many are taking legal action with two lead cases to be heard in May 2019.

Late last year, red-surfaced cycle lanes were installed indicating the optimum angle for crossing the tracks, while advanced stop lines will be added at a number of junctions before the end of the month.

There are now plans to add traffic lights that will go green for cyclists before other traffic at 14 junctions.

Lesley Macinnes, City of Edinburgh Council's transport convener, told the BBC: "Road safety is absolutely paramount and we've been working extremely closely with our partners to refine these designs.

"Early release signals for cyclists have been credited with reducing collisions in cities where they're already used so these are a particularly desirable option.

"The consultation is now live on our Consultation Hub and will run until 11 April 2018. We want to hear from as many people as possible to ensure we get this right so please do have your say and spread the word."

Ian Maxwell, of Spokes, the Lothian cycle campaign, told The Scotsman: "Signalled advanced stop lines have been used successfully for decades in other countries to give cyclists a better chance to cross junctions ahead of other traffic. This reduces the risk of getting cut off by turning vehicles and also avoids some of the racing starts when the lights go green.

"It is encouraging to see Edinburgh making use of such ideas, and we hope to see other 'radical' options such as traffic restraint to make central Edinburgh better for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users."

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