Dozens of cyclists in Edinburgh could be in line for a £10,000 payout by suing the council for negligence after sustaining injuries from slipping on tram tracks

Cyclists who ride in cities where trams are commonplace will know the danger of slipping on the tracks, but now dozens of riders in Edinburgh are set to sue the council after suffering injuries in such incidents.

The Edinburgh Evening News reports that between 50 and 60 cyclists will make a claim against the council for negligence, represented by Thompsons Solicitors.

According to the paper, lawyers argue that the design of the tram system and the warning signs in place amount to negligence on the council’s part.

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Stewart White, an associate at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “We’re hopeful that we will get a successful judgement. We’re confident of proceeding and that a successful judgement will pave the way for settling the remainder.

“The council have repudiated liability in every case. The position has been that the tram tracks are there to be seen, and that’s it. That’s simply not good enough.

“The bottom line is that they have removed cycling provision and they have replaced it with the tram system, which is essentially a railway through the city centre. What’s a cyclist supposed to do in that environment?

“Quite astonishingly, they have painted a bicycle between the tram tracks in the West End. That more or less guides cyclists between the tram tracks. They then can’t get to the acute angle they need to safely cross the line.”

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David Steel, who was nearly crushed by a bus when he fell off his bike, called the tram lines a “death trap”.

“I got my front wheel across the first tram track and the next thing I know, I’m lying on my back looking up at a bus which is just over the top of my head,” he said. “If it hadn’t stopped, I was crushed,” he told the Evening News.

The council could be in line to foot a bill of more than £500,000 if the claims are upheld in court, with lawyers predicting payouts of up to £10,000 per case.

Source: Edinburgh Evening News

  • Jeremy Pascoe

    The three part test for negligence is met. Of this there can be no doubt at all. then the council has to show that the danger could not have reasonably be foreseen to defend the case – the council were told of it before the road was opened. thus this defense will not work Nor is it too unlikey a danger for the council to have had to considered – the sheer number of accidents shows this.

    Gelderlander – have you actually seen the road in question? have you looked at the pictures? Do you cycle along these roads?

    the cyclist is following a marked cyclepath that leads them into a serious hazard that if you are followig the cyclepath is unavoidable Look at the picture of the cycleway curving across the tracks – then look at the highway code advice on crossing tracks. Then look at the national standards for cycle tracks.

  • Jeremy Pascoe

    Shame you are showing your ignorance then by attempting to claim this would be “a far reaching and momentous precedent, which so far does not form part of the law of Scotland!” When it clearly isn’t

    its the same as tripping over a paving slab or busting a car tyre in a pothole

    Its about as clear a case of negligence as I have ever seen – and while not legally qualified I have studied aspects of the law to honours standard so have a basic understanding.

    For example your claim that this is “volenti non fit injuria” is simply nonsense For how can a cyclist be accepting of the risk of following a cyclepath that leds them into danger? And how can the council have been deemed to have adequately informed the cyclist of the risk that the cyclepath is not fit for purpose indeed is actively dangerous. If there was no cycle path marked then yes this could apply but as there is a cycle path marked that leads into an unforseeable danger – tehn this defense will not work.

  • Gelderlander

    The above is why lawyers spend 5 years studying the law before being let loose on the public…

  • Jeremy Pascoe

    The pics now show up – can those who think the claim is ridiculous please explain how this meets the standards for cyclecpaths and how they would ride this within the law, and without danger while following the cyclepaths. Its even impossible to follw the highway code guidence for tramtracks without going outside teh marked cycle lanes and having to swerve in an out of traffic.

  • Jeremy Pascoe

    Indeed you are right about the law – which is why these cases are indefensible by the council. They have a duty of care, they breached that duty of care and harm was caused. They knew this was a dangerous road layout and did not meet national standards. It is so blatant and so basic that there can be no defence

    volenti non fit injuria does not apply in any way. It is not a normal hazard that could be expected.
    If you cycle down the middle of the cycle lane you will almost certainly fall off. Look at the pics above. Its about as clear cut a case of negligence as I have ever seen. Compared to say tripping over uneven paving stones for example for which plenty of case law exists.

    the point on which this hinges is ” could the council have reasonably foreseen the hazard and would it have been onerous to do anything about it. they were told by consultants they employed this was a hazard, they were told by cycling groups it wa a hazard and they did nothing about it – and if they had considered the issue during the building phase it would have cost nothing to avoid the hazard. the hazard still could be removed for a few thousands of pounds
    Please expolain to me how in either of the above pics you could follow the cycle path and not be unsafe?

  • Gelderlander

    However, the Council does not make up the law, nor the standards of proof and evidence that the courts judge cases on (and nor is reporting of accidents reliable, as who knows how many have been urged to complain compared to the past). What the City of Edinburgh Council’s “own standards” are is irrelevant, as this is judged on a national level and on existing case law, not based on the occasional and peripatetic practices of one local authority. There is extensive case law on standard of care and what constitutes a breach of that duty if and when reasonable foreseeability has been adduced, as well as the defences of volenti non fit injuria (and contributory negligence). What Thompsons are presumably hoping for is to set a far reaching and momentous precedent, which so far does not form part of the law of Scotland!

  • Jeremy Pascoe

    Have a look at the pictures. the council engaged a set of transport consultants who planned a safe route – this was ignored, Various cycling groups gave input saying how dangerous it was, this was ignored. The councils own very low standards for cycle paths were ignored. The highway code advice was ignored. In one place the cyclepath is under a foot wide between a kerb and a tramtrack. In numerous places you have to either swerve out into a different lane or cross the tracks at a shallow angle. please tell me how you are supposed to use the marked lanes in the pic above safely folowing the highway code advice? These are not even the worst examples – just the clearest pics. It would be very easy to make it safe and would have been simple at zero cost during construction. this is why the council are negligent. 60 accidents in 6 months compared to an average of 2 a year previously says a lot

    so yes – we can show that the council were aware of the hazard, did not even follow their own standards let alone a usual and accepted practice. It would have been perfectly reasonable to provide a safe route at minimal cost. they chose not to hence they are negligent

  • Jeremy Pascoe

    Why do the mods on here not allow me to post the pics of the layout which would explain why this is so dangerous. i have tried to post them 3 times -0each time the post is deleted

  • Jeremy Pascoe

    Unfortunately the pics I posted do not seem to have shown up. Edionburgh council were told that their road design was hazardous. if you follow the marked cycle path youvhave to cross the tracks several times at very shallow angles. this is why the council are negligent – beofer the trams – 2 accidents a year, after them 60 in 6 months. I;; try to post the pics again so you can see just how ridiculous and dangerous they are.

  • Jeremy Pascoe

    See the pics above

  • Riggah

    I’ve fallen off riding across a Melbourne tram track. I had my angle sorted but swerved to avoid a woman in a BMW who failed to stop at a STOP sign (NOBODY stops at STOP signs in Melbourne!). I came crashing down in front of her car and after I picked myself up she simply drove around me and away!
    Not for an instant did I consider the incident to be the fault of the tram company, nor would I. It seems to me that these Edinburgh cyclists are trying it on and don’t want to take responsibility for their own safety. There are much bigger issues and battles to be fought.

  • rosarycross

    I live in Melbourne Australia. It has the largest tram network and I have never heard of someone falling off their bicycle because of the tram tracks. You probably need to angle your bicycle wheels or jump to avoid them.

  • Alex

    The roads I ride to work each day in Salford have metrolink tracks down them. I have no problems because I can bunny hop them if needed, but girl in my dept started riding to work and came off after falling because of the tracks. She rarely cycled to work after this. If you read CW, chances are you are a proficient cyclist. Tram tracks make cycling on busy city roads much more dangerous.

  • Crydda

    I agree. Where I live, tram lines and old cobbles are a constant hazard in the city centre; cyclists slow down or dismount and generally accept the need to take greater care than usual.
    Like cycling, trams are one of the most environmentally friendly, quiet, convenient and efficient form of transport and should be encouraged.
    I’d rather run the, rather slight, risk of slipping on a tram line, than negotiate wet streets with thousands of, in a hurry, bad tempered motorists.

  • ShutUpJonathan

    I think this is poor. I cycle everyday in Edinburgh across once of the worst point at Haymarket and if you know how to cycle properly in the city then there is no issue. I’m afraid that if you can’t cycle on the main roads and deal with the road furniture be it cars or tram tracks then you should be sticking to the perfectly acceptable inner city cycle routes.