Cyclists set to sue over Edinburgh accidents

In another example of how someone seemingly has to be blamed for every accident solicitors representing a group of cyclists who have suffered injuries having fallen off their bikes in the vicinity of the tram tracks in Edinburgh have revealed that they are set to sue the City Council for damages. It is believed 60 cyclists are involved in the legal action and they have suffered a series of breaks, sprains and fractures having fallen off their bikes when coming in contact with the tracks.

The solicitors representing the cyclists say that the Council are guilty of negligence due to the design of the tram tracks and warning signs. A test case is due to be heard by the Court of Session in November and if that is a success the floodgates are expected to be opened and lots of cyclists will bring action for their injuries. The Edinburgh Evening News report that up to £10,000 per case could be awarded with a final bill of over £500,000 likely.

The article also quotes Stewart White, an associate dealing with accident claims Thomson Solicitors, who says: “We’re confident of proceeding and that a successful judgement will pave the way for settling the remainder. The council have repudiated liability in every case. The position has been that the tram tracks are there to be seen, and that’s it. That’s simply not good enough. The bottom line is that they have removed cycling provision and they have replaced it with the tram system, which is essentially a railway through the city centre. What’s a cyclist supposed to do in that environment?”

Meanwhile down on London Tramlink a major review has recently been started into ensuring that in all locations where trams and bikes come across each other is completely safe. At an inquest into the death of Roger de Klerk (who tragically died after falling off his bike when its wheels got stuck in the tram tracks close to East Croydon) last year coroner Selena Lynch was critical of the so-called confusing signage and layout of junctions and gave a warning that more cyclists could die if something wasn’t done. She has now written to Croydon Council and they, along with TfL, are looking at all junctions and signage to ensure that the network remains as safe as possible for all road users.

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16 Responses to Cyclists set to sue over Edinburgh accidents

  1. Geoff, Isle of Man says:

    “What’s a cyclist supposed to do in that environment?” How about taking responsibility for his/her own safety and looking out for hazards or obstructions? Oh, of course, it’s all about ‘rights’ now, isn’t it; no-one recognizes ‘responsibilities’ any more! Ambulance-chasing lawyers are the bane of modern life and should be held in check.

  2. John Stewart says:

    I doubt if any of these cyclists cycle more than me. It sounds as if we either have 60 cyclists who are incapable of handling their machine properly, or we have people contriving to fall off so that they can sue – or a combination of both. The risks are self-evident; if one tries to ride across a flangeway at an acute angle on a bike with narrow tyres one will possibly get trapped. It is more likely if the road is wet. I hope that the City Council resists all of these claims resolutely.

  3. tony stevenson says:

    Most cyclists seem to think that they can do as they please and the basic rules of the road do not apply to them. If they can’t manage the streets of Edinburgh then they should stay of the road. Where I live ,(Fylde Coast) a large number of them ignore red lights and treat the pavement as a right of way. I hope the council win there case

  4. This article makes me ashamed to be Scottish. Since the inception of the Edinburgh Tram project safety has been uppermost in planners’ minds and especially in respect of cyclists. Fifty years ago when I as a schoolboy lived in Portsmouth, remnants of the old tram tracks remained in Southsea…….you learned to cross them diagonally. Talk about living in a compensation society ! Hope that when it comes to court the judiciary see sense.

  5. Ken Walker says:

    I sincerely hope that these solicitors end up with significant amounts of egg on their faces if they proceed with this ludicrous case. If cyclists don’t know how to avoid perfectly visible ‘hazards’ and can’t use basic common sense they shouldn’t be riding the bikes. They seem to see and navigate kerbs easily enough when they want to ride on the footpaths.

  6. Christopher Callan says:

    Safety should be at the heart of any review. The Croydon incident was clearly regrettable. Its right and proper they look at the system to see what if any improvements can be made to mitigate re occurrence.

    Regarding Edinburgh very different case. Ambulance Chasing parasites lacking common sense approach. Whilst parts of the layout far from idea (due to the existing street layout) really think common sense is needed. Taking responsibility for your own actions. Giving them up to £10k does not solve the problem either.

  7. David Maxwell says:

    Amsterdam has many more tramlines and bikes than Edinburgh. Does anyone know if there are many problems there? I suspect not but may be wrong!!

  8. Ken Walker says:

    I have been told that part of police training these days is the policy that “there is no such thing as an accident”. In other words every incident no matter how minor presents an opportunity to prosecute /fine / sue somebody. If this is the case in the police it’s no wonder the ambulance chasing lawyers are jumping on the bandwagon. After all, if they slip while jumping on the bandwagon they’ll be able to sue somebody for compensation won’t they?

  9. Franklyn says:

    Do these cyclists have any right to be where they are when allegedly injuring themselves? Also what training and licencing do they have to prove their competence to control their machines and understand the rules of the road? None you say? Hmmm…. That should be interesting in court!

    Perhaps it’s time to tighten up the law to protect both genuine cyclists and other road users? Why not force intending cyclists to take a test in the same way a motorcyclist does? To protect other road users their machines should also be licenced and issued with the relevant plates. To pay for more cycle lanes maybe they should also pay a form of road tax?

    It’s time people in this country started taking responsibility for their own actions and stopped being spoon-fed everything by the nanny state.

    Will these same cyclists start suing when their mountain bike hits a rock on a footpath over the peaks somewhere?

    It’s time they used their mouths less and their eyes more!

  10. Nigel Pennick says:

    If the cyclists in Edinburgh are as cavalier as those in Cambridge, where I once saw one go under a bus and die (no tramlines since 1914), then it is no wonder there are “accidents”. Are the Scottish solicitors progressing hundreds of law suits against cyclists that knock down pedestrians?

  11. Bob says:

    Amsterdam and Edinburgh have roughly the same population. The difference is that Edinburgh has one tram route and countless buses whereas Amsterdam is tramway oriented with very few urban buses. The latter has more bicycles than population, that apparent anomaly being because many people have two or more, making it the commonest form of transport. Commuters use one bike from home to a tram stop, where it is locked for the day and another at the nearest stop to his or her place of work that is used to complete the journey. It is a fact that most cyclists prefer trams to buses and HGVs because the latter cam make unpredictable turns that are the bane of any cyclist, whereas they know where trams are going. Hospital morgues and A&E departments are not overloaded with dead and injured cyclists because they know from long developed instinct how to ride safely. Let us hope that the Edinburgh authorities point that out.

  12. Fylde man says:

    I have seen a video on YouTube of two cyclist negotiating the tram lines on a corner,the track beared to the right and the first cyclist who is in a yellow jacket crossed over the tram tracks on a right angle perfectly,but the second cyclist tried to follow the tram track round the corner and he came a cropper.
    Cyclist think they have a right of way what evers in the road including tram tracks,it never happened in my days when cyclist crossed the tram lines behind the Metropole in Blackpool.
    They want to get a life trying to sue Edinburgh Councel,and I hope the council win.

  13. John Stewart says:

    Franklyn’s comments are unhelpful and largely unjustified. There was no suggestion that the cyclists were where they should not have been. He will also know that cyclists do not have to be licensed. As for licensing and plating, this has been looked at many times and found not to worth the trouble.

    In relation to his suggestion of “a form of road tax”, would he and others please learn that there is no such thing as road tax. There is a vehicle excise licence and money from this goes into the consolidated fund. it is no more connected to road works provision than the excise duty on alcohol or tobacco is there to improve facilities for drinkers and smokers. He also seems to neglect the fact that low-emission motor vehicles pay no fee for their VEL. On the same basis cyclists would pay nothing either. Does he really want to establish a vast bureaucracy to register 10 million cyclists in order to bring in nothing?

    I pay a large sum in income tax each year, plus vehicle excise duty for my two cars, duty and VAT on diesel for them, duty and VAT on drink and eating out, and, of course 20% VAT on all equipment for my five bikes and a tandem. I do not wish to pay more to satisfy the ill-balanced opinion of those who equate incompetent cycling and the compensation culture with tramways!

  14. Gordon Casely says:

    Below – letter from me in The Herald of 27 January 15
    Dear Sir

    Cyclists and trams

    Have 60 cyclists really been injured on Edinburgh’s tramlines? Where have they been all their precious lives? (60 cyclists injured on tram tracks sue council, page 7, Herald, Saturday 24 January).

    I’m a lifetime cyclist, and as a boy, had my fair share of jouking the front wheel across and over tramlines in Aberdeen and Glasgow. Top of the skills test was surely maneovring the bike on a wet nights on the cassies in between the points at Shawlands Cross, trying swing gently half-right up Pollokshaws Road.

    Or maybe trying to cross the fan of points of today’s main tram terminus in Amsterdam provides the ultimate test?

    In both venues, the death toll among us cyclists hasn’t been very high.

    Maybe Edinburgh cyclists just need to get out more.

  15. John Gilbert says:

    Just to agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments expressed in the letters above. Require the cyclists to do compulsory training in a German or Dutch city for six months before being allowed out on a cycle over here!

  16. Ken Walker says:

    “The bottom line is that they have removed cycling provision and they have replaced it with the tram system….”. So in fact they are sueing because the council has removed cycle lanes to provide the tramway, the solicitors admit in so many words that that is the reason. So can pedestrians sue for loss of facilities where councils have converted part of footpaths into cycle lanes? And as for the comment that saying the lines are there to be seen is not good enough – do they actually want the council to raise the rails above the road service to make them more visible? It is no wonder that cyclists are losing public sympathy, unfortunately, as with everything else these people get the decent law-abiding majority of cyclists an unwarranted bad name. I’m sure the number of people using the trams is far greater than ever cycled down the roads affected.

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