Lawyers warn action needs to be taken on Edinburgh tram lines before fatality

Patrick McGuire

Lawyers who represent cyclists hurt on Edinburgh’s tram lines have warned that the local council needs to take action before someone dies.

Speaking to BBC Scotland, lawyers from Thompsons Solicitors said it is dealing with nearly 100 cases of injured cyclists.

Patrick McGuire, a partner at the firm, said: “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.”

Council officials have not commented on compensation claims but it is believed they think they have a strong case.

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.”

Cyclists have said that the tram line in Haymarket, in the west end of the city, poses the greatest threat because of the angle at which the tramline intersects with the road.

They have called on the council to introduce coloured pathways to guide cyclists through the junctions.

One injured cyclist, Hamish Mitchell, was hurt badly after he fell from his bike.

He told BBC Scotland: “My wheel slipped on the surface of the tram line.

“I landed on my knee, pulled my hip, damaged my shoulder, broke three teeth and took the end off my finger.”

Mr McGuire said: “Edinburgh city council have a statutory duty under the Road Traffic Act to ensure the safety of cyclists, to ensure the lessons from previous accidents are learned, and to make changes.

“They have utterly failed in that. Cyclists are doing absolutely the right thing in coming forward and demanding these changes.”

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