Path tribute plan for tragic cyclist

RELATIVES and friends of a cyclist killed in a road crash at the weekend hope to name a city cycle path in his memory.

Greek-born Dr Kostas Tourlas, 37, died following a collision with a car while cycling with his girlfriend along Stirling Road, Kirkliston, on Saturday afternoon.

His family flew to Edinburgh earlier this week to take his body home to his native Athens for burial. The funeral is expected to take place tomorrow.

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In Edinburgh, friends of Dr Tourlas – a gifted academic who had made the city his home – have been inspired to press for a lasting tribute centred on his favourite pastime.

Mark Symonds, 48, one of Dr Tourlas's closest friends, who joined him on cycling holidays in the Scottish Highlands and the Pyrenees, said a cycle path tribute would be "something he would have loved".

"This idea arose while speaking with his family, who had come over from Greece soon after he died," Mr Symonds said.

"It was something Kostas's family thought would be a good idea and (his friends here] said it would be wonderful.

"It would be fantastic to have something that could make things safer for cyclists in light of what happened to Kostas. It would be a very appropriate tribute."

Mr Symonds said the death of his friend would be "deeply felt" by all who knew him.

Plans are at a very early stage but friends say the cycle route could take the form of a roadside bicycle lane, a new track, or possibly an off-road path.

"It would be quite poignant," Mr Symonds added. "The only positive thing that can be said about what happened on Saturday is that he died doing something he loved and perhaps if we can do something that could maybe prevent future deaths I think that would be very appropriate."

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Ian Maxwell, a spokesman for Spokes – the cyclists' pressure group for the Lothians of which Dr Tourlas was a member – welcomed the practical memorial concept and said Spokes would back the family's aim.

"It would be very good if whatever was created to remember Dr Tourlas was also going to help cyclists in the future," he said.

Another tribute mooted by colleagues at Adelard, a London-based software analyst company where Dr Tourlas had worked since 2003, was to establish a commemorative academic scholarship.