Cyclists to get trained for trams after track troubles

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AT FIRST it seemed as if the reopening of Princes Street had gone as smoothly as the city's tram bosses had promised.

But just one week after the grand unveiling, cyclists are lining up to criticise the new road layout following a spate of accidents.

The problem has become so bad that tram firm TIE is to put on training sessions to help provide tips for those on two wheels.

&#149 Would you cycle along Princes Street without having a lesson from TIE?

Cyclists claim that poor road markings and the removal of a cycle lane have led to a number of incidents where they have come off after wheels slipped on the newly-laid tram tracks.

One cyclist even posted footage of his crash on You Tube after pedalling along Princes Street with a camera mounted on his handlebars.

Chris Hill, who runs the forum, said he knew of at least half a dozen incidents where cyclists had come off their bikes on Princes Street since it was reopened to traffic.

He added: "It's clear that not enough thought has gone into this. There's even a Cyclists Dismount sign at the bottom of The Mound which doesn't make much sense.

"It's easy to assume that the council doesn't want people to cycle on Princes Street, but the same council has signed up for 15 per cent of journeys to be by bike by 2020."

TIE said the experience of cities elsewhere which had installed tram systems had shown that running training sessions for cyclists helped reduce accidents.

Independent instructors will hold sessions next weekend aimed at advising cyclists on how to ride safely near the tram lines.

Susan Clark, deputy project director for Edinburgh Trams said: "With the opening of Princes Street to buses, taxis and cyclists, it is important that care is taken to ensure that new traffic layouts and signage are followed.

"In particular, though, cyclists should take a number of measures to ensure their own safety when cycling near tram tracks. Other road users should also be careful not to force cyclists onto tram tracks and allow them plenty of room when passing or turning at junctions.

"Edinburgh Trams and the city council have worked closely from the outset with cycling groups, including Spokes and Sustrans to ensure a broad consultation."


TIE's safety tips for cyclists:

&#149 Only ride alongside or across tram tracks when it is absolutely necessary.

&#149 Do not cycle on the rails as wheels may become jammed.

&#149 If it is necessary to cross the tram tracks, then you should always do so as close to a 90-degree angle as possible.

&#149 Remember to make other road users aware of your intentions early on.

&#149 Do not take short-cuts across the central reservation even when trying to avoid slow-moving traffic.

&#149 Extra care should be taken particularly in wet and icy weather, as well as after dark.