An Edinburgh councillor has said that the city is working on bringing in emergency infrastructure to protect cyclists at the location where a woman was killed earlier this week while riding her bike, the second cyclist fatality involving a lorry there in less than two years.
Heather Stronach, aged 36, was killed in the crash on Monday on Portobello High Street close to the junction with King’s Road and Sir Harry Lauder Road.
In a statement released via Police Scotland, her husband Martyn said: "Heather loved to ride her bike. I am feeling pretty lost. I have lost my best friend and my soul mate."
The location of the fatal collision is on the same stretch of road where Edinburgh University PhD student Stuart Elliott lost his life last year in a crash involving a lorry.
Councillor Lesley Macinnes, the city’s transport and environment convener, said on Twitter that her thoughts were with Mrs Stronach’s family and friends, before going on to outline
A thread 1. News of a second fatal accident at the junction of King’s Road junction yesterday afternoon was truly dreadful. My thoughts are very much centred on this tragic loss for Heather Stronach’s family, her friends and the wider family of cyclists in Edinburgh.
— CllrLesleyMacinnes (@lmacinnessnp) November 3, 2020
She said: “Everyone who cycles in Edinburgh, or anyone who is sympathetic to vulnerable road users, will no doubt share a number of emotions in reaction – enormous sorrow, anger that we have seen yet another fatality on our roads, fear of similar accidents and frustration that we cannot eliminate this kind of risk to those who simply want to cycle around our city.
“As the council and the roads authority for the city we have already started to work closely with the police to understand what exactly happened and what measures we can take at this location.
“Clearly, we cannot comment at this time about the precise nature of the cause of this tragic incident while that investigation is ongoing.
“What I can say however is that this is being taken extremely seriously and that over the next few weeks we will identify possible measures that can be put in place quickly at this location and also examine quickly what longer term measures could produce more substantial changes to the junction layout.
“There is already ongoing design work in response to last year’s fatal accident and we will of course build on that,” she continued.
“I acknowledge the very understandable demands for us to move fast on such actions and to find quick solutions. Junctions such as these are however incredibly complex and engineering solutions inevitably take time.
“Design changes have to follow established, sometimes legal, procedures before they can be implemented, and I recognise the frustration that that brings for everyone who wants and should be able to expect safe cycling conditions.
“I have spent yesterday evening and today in discussion with senior council officials about how we make significant changes to allow us to move more quickly and further in finding workable, effective solutions for vulnerable road users.
“We are already reaching out to organisations who can help us make progress in this.
“We have seen too many needless casualties on our roads in recent times,” the councillor added. “Enough is enough.”
Sergeant Mark Banner, from the Edinburgh Road Policing Unit, said: “We are still appealing for anyone who witnessed this incident, either shortly before or during, to contact us.
“I'd also ask drivers who were in the area around 2.45pm to check their dash-cam footage.”
Anyone who has information is asked to contact Police Scotland on 101 quoting incident number 1829 of 2 November 2020.
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.