SAFETY videos have been released showing road users how to avoid accidents once Edinburgh’s trams are up and running.
Edinburgh City Council has produced a collection of images and short films showing drivers, pedestrians and cyclists safe ways to navigate the roads once trams start operating.
Currently, trams are only running through the city during the night and between Edinburgh Park and the airport during the daytime.
However, more trams will be tested along the 8.5-mile route over the next week and the city council is keen for other road-users to know how to keep themselves safe.
The bulletins include one-minute videos warning that “the trams are coming” and to “be aware”. The videos have been posted on YouTube as well as on plasma screens in council offices and libraries around Edinburgh.
The route is due to open in May and there will be 16 stops, with trams reaching top speeds of 43.5mph as they take passengers from Edinburgh Airport to York Place.
As part of the safety campaign, drivers are told to avoid stopping on the tram lines and to give trams space, because “they can’t swerve to avoid you”.
They are also warned to look out for pedestrians, especially children, crossing the road near tram stops.
Pedestrians are advised to look around when walking near the route. The video aimed at walkers warns that trams are quiet and may not be heard until they are very close.
People are advised to listen for the trams’ bells, use pedestrian crossings and “wait for green”. It also warns anyone wearing headphones or using mobile phones, who may not hear trams coming, to be aware they may be near.
Cyclists are advised on safe places to cross the tram tracks. They are warned: “Cross the tracks close to a right angle – this won’t always be possible, but by crossing as close to a right angle as you can, you’ll avoid slipping on the tracks.
“Mind the gap – keep your wheels out of the tram tracks, especially when overtaking other vehicles or turning at junctions. Take care when cycling in the rain – the tracks will be slippery.”
The videos, produced by the City Council and Transport for Edinburgh at a cost of just over £10,000, include tips as part of a wider awareness campaign to help pedestrians, cyclists and drivers get used to the trams.
Tom Norris, Edinburgh trams director and general manager, said: “Our team have been training extremely hard and we’re now ready to move into a phase where many more trams start to run along the route. Safety is our first priority and our drivers are all fully aware that other road-users need time to get used to interacting with the new trams. Our main message is that trams are big and quiet, so give them space, look before you cross the road and listen for the bell.”
Councillor Lesley Hinds, the council’s transport convener, said: “Up until now, trams have only been running at night. Daytime tests aren’t far away and it’ll take some time for people to get used to seeing trams running on streets, so we’re asking drivers, pedestrians and cyclists to take extra care.”
The tram works have been blighted by delays, controversy and contract disputes. The original timetable predicted the trams would be running in 2011. The final cost is expected to be about £776 million, more than £230m over budget.