The family of a medical student who was killed when she was run over by a tour bus driver after the wheel of her bike was believed to have become trapped in a tram track in Edinburgh will receive compensation through a settlement with the company’s insurers.
Zhi Min Soh, aged 23, was killed close to the junction of Princes Street and Lothian Road on 31 May 2017 when the driver of the 16-seat minibus operated by Rabbie’s Tours failed to stop, dragging her under the bus.
No criminal charges were brought, but the Malaysian student's family initiated civil proceedings to try and ascertained what had happened.
Although the fatal crash happened close to one of Edinburgh’s busiest junctions, there were no witnesses to it and no CCTV footage was available, nor was there any conclusive physical evidence of what had caused Zhi Min to fall from her bike.
A Road Policing Investigation Report found that while the driver of the minibus was within the 20mph speed limit and was aware of the cyclist’s presence, he had been closing in on her, and was therefore unable to take evasive action when she fell.
The tour operator’s insurers denied liability, but later agreed to compensate the victim’s family for their grief and sorrow, and while there was no formal admission of liability that dd serve as acknowledgement that there had been negligence on the driver’s part.
The family were represented by specialist solicitors, Cycle Law Scotland. Jodi Gordon, a partner at the law firm, said: “It is important that we learn lessons from this tragic case. There is no doubt that crossing tramlines poses a hazard to cyclists as do potholes, drain covers and a host of other road surface defects.
“It is so important to give cyclists room and not just when passing. Drivers must leave room in front to allow a cyclist to cope with a potential hazard safely, as after all, when driving behind a cyclist, remember that you are in control of a potential lethal weapon, capable of causing great harm.
“Whatever caused Zhi Min to fall from her bicycle on the 31st May 2017 may never be known but had she been given sufficient room by the tour bus driver, she would most likely still be here. She would by now have completed her Medical Degree and returned to Malaysia to be with her family.
“Zhi Min’s death was avoidable,” Gordon added. “The hope is that we learn from this unnecessary loss of life. As drivers, we must learn to recognise the vulnerability of cyclists and the fragility of life as we interact together on the roads.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.