Cyclists win damages over falls on Edinburgh tram lines

In the first two of what are expected to a number of claims a judge has awarded damages to cyclists who have suffered injuries when falling off their bikes when crossing tram lines in Edinburgh City Centre. The two claims relate to two different locations – one at Haymarket, one on Princes Street – with the judge ruling that the tracks posed a hazard to cyclists. No details of how much the damages are for have not been revealed.

Cyclists in Edinburgh have long been campaigning of the dangers of the tracks claiming that they produced an unacceptable risk and that at some locations it was not possible to cross the tracks without getting their wheels stuck and falling off. Many such incidents have been reported in the media with the number of significant injuries said to be high. The highest profile of which saw the tragic death of Zhi Min Soh whose bike wheels got stuck in the tracks on Princes Street causing her to fall into the path of a minibus.

These two cases are likely to have been test cases which will now open up the courts for many more disgruntled cyclists to claim for damages they say are caused by the layouts where they need to cross the tramway.

Presiding judge Lady Wolffe said: “In submissions, the defender submitted that each pursuer failed to take care for his or her own safety. However, there was no specification of how or in what manner they had failed to do so. I have considered the evidence about the few specific steps it was suggested they could take, and concluded that the evidence does not support the defenders’ cases of contributory negligence against the pursuers.”

The two pursuers have been awarded undisclosed damages. The first of those who had their case heard – 58 year old Ms Fairley – had originally claimed for £50,000 but a sum had been agreed between the Council and Ms Fairly before the case although this has not been publicly revealed (but is presumably lower than the £50,000 originally sought).

The floodgates are now open ready for lots more claims from cyclists injured in accidents they believe caused by the tram lines in Edinburgh.

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2 Responses to Cyclists win damages over falls on Edinburgh tram lines

  1. Combustible No 2 says:

    What a crazy situation we now find ourselves in. First generation trams were around for, approximately half a century and hardly anyone got their bike wheel(s) caught in the grooves on street running sections. And yes there were bikes around in those days, one relative of mine caught his wheels in the track groove in part of Manchester. He was saved from major injury by being picked up on the life guard of a following tram. However, more to the point, he was travelling parallel to the rails, possibly the only way that your wheels can get stuck in the groove. Most modern systems actively discourage cycling parallel with the track and strongly advise crossing the track either by dismounting and pushing the bike across, (seems to me to be the most sensible option), or ensuring you ride across at right angles rather than obliquely.

  2. Nigel Pennick says:

    A direct result of the ‘litigation culture’, driven in part by the paranoia against things on tracks peddled by sections of the media. Reminiscent of Victorian cases against early horse tramways where the upper class judges automatically disapproved of vehicles that carried the poorer classes. Let’s see comparative statistics of cyclists injured and killed by buses, taxis, cars and lorries.