Cyclists who claim they fell victim to Edinburgh’s tramliness could have to wait until 2019 for lead cases in damages actions to be heard, a court was told today.
Lawyers have claimed that the number of accidents involving bike riders “is significantly greater” in Edinburgh than in other cities where tram or light rail systems have been introduced.
A senior counsel acting for accident victims urged that all the cases that have been brought should be put under the management of a single judge.
Simon Di Rollo QC told the Court of Session in Edinburgh: “There have been a number of accidents involving cyclists at various locations on the tram system since it was brought under construction.”
He told Lord Boyd of Duncansby that a number of cases have been raised in the court that the level of injury and damage sustained ranged from “quite minor to fairly serious”.
He said efforts had been made to identify two cases that could go forward to be decided by the court. He added detailed pleadings had been prepared after expert reports and other material was received.
Mr Di Rollo said that one of the cases that had been selected, involving a woman who had an accident in the Haymarket area, had settled out of court.
The other action was raised by golf professional Iain Lowdean, of Glendinning Crescent, Edinburgh, who is seeking £15,000 damages after he was hurt on the city’s Princes Street.
Mr Lowdean was on his bike on October 22 in 2012 and was cycling across tram tracks when a wheel slipped due to the angle of crossing and he fell, it is said.
It is said that an arrow was painted in the offside lane to guide cyclists into the nearside lane and that the sign gave “positive guidance” to bike riders to cross the tram track at an acute angle.
Edinburgh council and Transport Initiatives Edinburgh is contesting the action and said he would have cycled past several signs urging caution because of tram tracks.
Mr Di Rollo said the current allegation was that the cyclist was required or encouraged to cross the tram track at a shallow angle which it was contended was dangerous and that not enough was being done by the roads authority.
In Mr Lowdean’s action it is said he suffered injuries to both hands and his right knee and was unable to take golf classes for a period. His cycle helmet was also damaged.
In his case it is said: “The number of accidents in Edinburgh involving cyclists is significantly greater than in other cities where tram or light rail systems have been introduced.”
Mr Di Rollo said: “We would like to identify another case to go forward because it would make sense to have more than one example.”
He told the court that more time was needed to focus the issues more precisely and more narrowly identify what evidence was required to be led.
Mr Di Rollo said that if eight days of court time was required for a full hearing then it would not take place until 2019, but if a shorter period was required it could be accommodated sooner.
Steven Love QC, for the local authority, said: “It makes sense to have discussions to try to focus the issues at large for the court.”
Lord Boyd agreed to a four week continuation and said it would be in the expectation that another lead case can be selected.
The judge also urged that progress be made in identifying the issues for the court and on how best to manage a full hearing in order to have it done in as effective and quick manner as possible.