CYCLISTS today blasted post-tram Princes Street as a “death trap” which stunt cyclist Danny MacAskill would struggle to navigate.
The street, which reopened to bus traffic at 5am this morning, has angered the city’s bikers because it has no designated cycle lane. Instead, a section has been marked for trams, cycles and buses together.
The right-hand lanes on both side of the street have been painted with white bikes in between the tram tracks, with a 40-metre strip at the West End also painted green.
Cyclists are being advised to carry on if a tram is behind rather than cross the tracks, leading to questions of delays when the line is finally operational.
City cycling groups, however, are more concerned about the immediate safety issues.
Financial services worker, Andy Arthurs, 29, from the Meadows, said: “It really is crazy, they’ve basically designed a death trap for cyclists. The tracks are wide enough to get your tyre stuck in so how you’re meant to navigate it I’ll never know.
“Danny MacAskill would have problems. It takes just ten seconds for anyone to see how stupid and lethal this is, so I really can’t understand how it’s made it through design and approval without anyone ever questioning it.”
Fellow city cyclist Kim Harding, who helped organise the Pedal on Parliament event calling for increased cycle safety in the city back in April, said: “It really is ridiculous, cyclists are already wary of sharing space with buses and taxis and now they have trams to contend with.”
Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian, said that it was “unbelievable” that a dedicated cycle lane had not been installed.
The council was said to have ruled that out on Princes Street because of the large number of pedestrians.
A council spokesman said the new markings were not intended to create a cycle lane, merely make it clear that cycling was allowed.
“This is standard signage advising cyclists that they are permitted to continue westbound from Princes Street on to Shandwick Place. While this short section of road is shared use, most of Princes Street has two lanes available for use by trams, buses, taxis and cycles. On completion, clear signage will be installed along the length of the on-street section of the route.
“The safety of all road users, including cyclists, has been a major consideration throughout the development and construction of the tram project and we continue to work closely with cycle groups in order to raise awareness of the tram rails and how to negotiate them correctly and safely.
“We are in discussions with the Bike Station with a view to offering a series of drop-in awareness sessions but, in the mean time, existing guidance and advice, including an educational video, is available from the Edinburgh Trams website.”
In addition to Princes Street reopening to bus traffic this morning, the Mound, which had previously been open to buses, taxis and cycles, is now once again open to all traffic, allowing motorists to drive through the city centre.
On Picardy Place, drivers are to take Broughton Street rather than York Place and go down Abercromby Place and Albany Street to reach Queen Street and George Street.