A lawyer is taking City of Edinburgh Council to court on behalf of 60 clients who claim they have fallen off their bikes due to tram tracks. Stewart White, of Thompsons Solicitors Scotland, said the council was responsible for injuries his clients had sustained while riding.
The injuries include broken jaws, cheek bones and collarbones as well as a broken foot from a bus driving over it. He has urged cyclists to report falls to the council.
Mr White told the BBC Scotland news website: “There is massive under-reporting from cyclists who are falling off their bikes as a result of hitting tram tracks. Even if a cyclist is uninjured I would urge them to report the fall to the council so we can keep pressure on the council. Cyclists are not being considered as the most vulnerable road user, it’s really frightening stuff.”
He added that those claiming for cycling accidents included a senior police officer, a firefighter, a teacher, a professor, two doctors, a golf professional and an advocate.
The first test case is due to be heard at the Court of Session by November. Mr White believes the design of tram lines and warning signs amounts to negligence by city transport authorities.
Individual payouts of up to £10,000 are possible if claims are successful, leading to a potential bill for the council of more than £500,000.
David Steele, 55, an elite cyclist and engineer who clocks up 7,000 miles a year on his bike, said he was in a lot of pain for six weeks after falling off his bike on 4 January at Haymarket. He told the BBC that the way the road was marked forced cyclists to cross the tram tracks at an angle of 15 degrees.
He said: “You need to be crossing tram tracks at a 90 degrees. Less than a 45 degree angle should be avoided but at Haymarket you are forced on to them at a 15 degree angle, its criminal.
“I never fall off my bike but I couldn’t see my back wheel and it caught in the tram tracks and I was off my bike before I knew what was happening.
“All my new cycling clothes I had got for Christmas were ripped, I ripped my shoulder, hurt my hip and elbow. For six weeks I had a very painful haematoma in my groin, which meant I couldn’t sleep, ride my bike or wear underpants. I am very angry about this. I think it is negligent and criminal that the council haven’t tested the system for cyclists.”