CityCyclingEdinburgh Forum » Infrastructure

Tram track issues - specific solutions

(149 posts)
  • Started 10 months ago by HankChief
  • Latest reply from Klaxon

  1. Rosie

    Tramline update:-

    Plans are underway to try and improve the safety of Edinburgh’s tramline system for people travelling by bike…

    Following the tragic death of Edinburgh University medical student Zhi Min Soh this summer at the West End junction, Edinburgh Council promised to investigate measures to reduce the toll of tramline cycling crashes throughout the system. Also, Transport Minister Humza Yousaf offered to give the Council any appropriate assistance.

    Subsequently, a motion on this (motion 9.1) was passed unanimously at the first meeting of the new Council – at which we had a deputation – and a detailed report on proposals is due at the October Transport Committee.

    It is an unfortunate fact that, despite our strenuous efforts 10 years ago, the tramline layout was designed without proper consideration to cycling (or walking). As a result, although many improvements can be made, the system will never be as bike-friendly as it could and should have been.

    Spokes has now met with Council officers, where we learned that proposed measures have been divided into stages 1-4 below, the first to be implemented rapidly, whilst later stages will be firmed up and their timescales clarified as design, consultation and, in some cases, legal processes are undertaken.

    •If you have specific ideas for short-term or longer-term measures, tell your councillor and ask them to feed your ideas to relevant officers. Find your (Edinburgh) councillors here.
    •In particular, consider the points made in the Spokes deputation to the June Council meeting.
    •If you are involved in, or know someone involved in, a tramline crash – please do get it reported officially and send a copy to Spokes.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  2. neddie

    The measures described in point 1. of the Spokes article below are to be implemented, allegedly by the end of this month:

    Posted 7 months ago #
  3. EdinburghCycleCam

    This is probably the wrong thread to use, feel free to point me elsewhere - a workmate of mine came a cropper from the tram lines at Haymarket on Friday; he said there was a car parked in the bike lane, so he went around it which resulted in his wheel going into the tram line and him coming off and getting a few scrapes, bruises and torn clothing. No camera at the time unfortunately, but he's got pictures of his injuries.
    Is there any point in him reporting this to the council, if nothing else, just for statistical purposes? And can anyone recommend where to report it?


    Posted 6 months ago #
  4. acsimpson

    Hi Steve,
    It is definitely worth reporting this to the council and to spokes.

    I'm not sure but it may also be worth reporting it to 101 so that the police have details of the accident. Was the car parked legally?

    Posted 6 months ago #
  5. Tulyar

    After a long hunt I've tracked down the Regulation 28 report that has failed to appear on the English Coroners' website linked to the request made by South London Coroner Selena Lynch at the inquest for Roger de Klerk killed in literally identical circumstances where Cherry Orchard Road crosses the Croydon Tram route on 12 November 2013. The deadline for response for this was 11 December 2014 (56 days after Coroner made request) letter dated 10 December 2014

    Frankly the response was a long way short of delivering any answers

    It misses out completely the fact that Roger's fatal injuries were delivered when the bus following him failed to stop in time or other wise avoid running over him, and offers no solutions to this issue, or commentary on it. Most fatalities involving buses and HGV's have a common factor - the victim goes under the wheels, elimination of this is not an impossible task, as trams have this feature as a standard requirement - unsurprisingly it is known as a lifeguard.

    It fails to note that there is one solution to the road layout which has Southbound traffic turning parallel to the track and then making a turn as the rails are being crossed (one way to lose control of a cycle) and starting with a very shallow angle of crossing (a second way to lose control of a cycle). This is to eliminate the isolated pedestrian island (never used?) that in theory should be used for a 2-stage crossing of the tram track and the carriageway on different signal phases. Without that island the Southbound traffic would cross the tram tracks in a straight line at an angle of between 40 and 60 degrees, eliminating 2 of the regular causes of cyclists falls

    Other causes of cyclist falls on tram, rails raised above the road surface (Roe vs Supertram &c) and road defects created by presence of rails also exists at this location (and widely across the on-street sections of Croydon Tramlink).

    There is a reference to plastic inserts etc and work being undertaken, however I was at this time working with STRAIL(UK) to get the veloSTRAIL system approved for Network Rail mainline use. This system has since 2005 eliminated almost all cycle crashes on crossings where cyclists cross at a shallow angle, and since 2014 has delivered the same performance at several UK locations. However it is only available for the regular BR113 section rail and not for any smaller vignole rail sections or all grooved tram rails or bullhead sections. Thus it could be used here BUT this work would need to be done as a major disruption of tram services and a massive rebuilding of the track at this location. I was unaware of any enquiry or review of the costs to install veloSTRAIL at the crash site

    Has the repeat of the same type of crash in Edinburgh delivered any better action. Possibly so as the issue of leaving space has seen some signage and bus driver briefing, with some (not always in the right place) road markings in place.

    That said there might also be some conclusions on measures to prevent victims being run over by buses and trucks, and the results of a report highlighting the substantially increased tendency for cyclists to fall off crossing tram tracks when distracted from their planned move by the actions of other road users.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  6. le_soigneur

    My colleague followed the red paint at Haymarket, after a Lothian Bus driver kindly waved him thru. Of course the track promptly upended him & his radius is now broken. Fortunately the LB driver left plenty of room to stop in time.
    Have sent him the Spokes info on reporting, including X-ray of fracture.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  7. Tulyar

    The more detail we can get on how control was lost the better.

    The red paint at Haymarket invites a hazardous style of crossing the rails - and turning at the same time, whilst also travelling slowly.

    Safest crossing for all but a really shallow angle, is to set up for crossing the rails without turning in a clean straight line, at a steady speed, and with both hands on the handlebars holding securely but not locked in a vise grip. This usually requires taking the lane from Morrison Street lights

    Posted 3 months ago #
  8. wingpig

    The right-hand lane from Morrison St has recently been hatched-out, making it slightly easier to keep the lane.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  9. Stickman

  10. unhurt

    "Pedestrian and cyclist safety are of utmost importance to the Council."

    Is just not evidenced by the things they actually DO.

    "We’re currently implementing four phases of measures to help raise awareness of how cyclists and drivers can keep each other safe around tram tracks"

    ...are they actually implying that cyclists are an equal threat to drivers?

    Posted 2 months ago #
  11. acsimpson

    The report also highlighted that most patients reported negative effects on confidence following an injuries - as well as a “sizeable minority” who have not yet cycled again since being hurt.

    That's the worst thing about it. Probably also the part which will cost the NHS most.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  12. "We’re currently implementing four phases of measures to help raise awareness of how cyclists and drivers can keep each other safe around tram tracks"

    Some serious questions should be asked regarding this statement. I'm prepared to wager that not a single driver has been injured by the actions of a cyclist "around tram tracks"

    The bottom line is they don't care one jot about anything except potential litigation and the impact on budgets.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  13. Rosie

    The study into Tram System Related Cycling Injuries (TSRCI) in the Capital has been released following the death of a Malaysian medical student, Zhi Min Soh. The 23-year-old was struck by a minibus last year after she fell into the vehicle’s path when her bike wheels become stuck in a tram track at the junction between Princes Street and Lothian Road.

    I didn't know the actual cause of Zhi Min Soh's fall had been established.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  14. Stickman

    @ECT: I'm going to make a FOI to ask that...

    Posted 2 months ago #
  15. chdot

    “I didn't know the actual cause of Zhi Min Soh's fall had been established.”

    I think the general description above has always been known.

    There was lack of clarity about whether the minibus was behind (plenty of ‘too close’ speculation) or approaching in adjacent lane?

    BUT that does seem to indicate that the minibus coming in the opposite direction is confirmed - don’t know when or where that info has been made public.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  16. chdot

    Had a PM suggesting minibus was behind.

    So -

    Who knows, speculation unhelpful!

    Posted 2 months ago #
  17. Murun Buchstansangur

    I don't see that "fell into the vehicle’s path" particularly clarifies which way either the cyclist and minibus were travelling in relation to one another. Perhaps there is something faulty in my comprehension.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  18. chdot

    “Perhaps there is something faulty in my comprehension.”

    No, you’re right.

    I’m overinterpreting “into”.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  19. Rosie

    @chdot, Murun
    I didn't even know if they'd established she got her wheel trapped in the tracks. It's 95% likely however I didn't think it was definite knowledge.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  20. McD

    The confusing cycle symbols in-between the tram tracks at the West End have now been replaced with "CYCLE" as part of the "BUS TAXI CYCLE ONLY" signage. This is an early part of the Phase II Tram Safety work due to the minimal design work involved, however Gov approval had to be obtained as it is a non-standard marking.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  21. I were right about that saddle

    I'm about as confident a city cyclist as you'll find. Assertive to the point of occasional belligerence. I have to admit though that the tram tracks frighten me.

    They must be utterly terrifying to inexperienced or vulnerable cyclists.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  22. Murun Buchstansangur

    "I have to admit though that the tram tracks frighten me."

    Me too, having come off at Haymarket despite knowing the issues and the theories for dealing with them.

    I have a forthcoming office move which means I'll likely have to navigate the Waverley Bridge/S St David St clusterf both ways each day. Not looking forward to it.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  23. Stickman

    @IWRATS: likewise. I go through Haymarket every day; I don't like it but I've learned to negotiate it. I made the right turn from Charlotte Square to Princes St once: never again. I avoid the rest of Princes St at all costs.

    I got an acknowledgment of my FOI request so will hopefully find out soon how many drivers have been injured when crossing tracks.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  24. Stickman

    So I got an answer to my FOI request about car casualties caused by interaction with the tram tracks following this comment.

    "This Council maintains a database of validated Road Traffic Collisions which are recorded by Police Scotland. However, conflict with the tram tracks is not one of the recorded fields. Attached are summary records and plots of locations, retrieved by calendar years on streets where embedded tram rails are located."

    A quick look at the data shows the following casualties along the tram route between 2011-2017:

    Car drivers: 11
    Car passengers: 3
    Taxi drivers: 1
    Taxi passengers: 3
    Motorbikes: 4
    Cyclists: 65
    Pedestrians: 87
    Bus/coach passengers: 85

    I think it's fair to say that car drivers aren't the ones being hurt by tram lines.

    Full response here:

    Posted 1 month ago #
  25. I were right about that saddle

    That cyclists figure is well short of professor Oliver's figure. He had 191 in March 2017. Interesting.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  26. Stickman

    That's only ones recorded by the police.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  27. Stickman

  28. toomanybikes

    Some serious improvements if this gets built. Especially the junction in front of South Charlotte Street, which is one of the few junctions I find uncyclable.

    Nothing Southwards on Haymarket Yards is disappointing though.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  29. dougal

    Nothing at Lothian Road/Princes Street junction where you actually have to cross the trams. Or the Shandwick Place bottleneck still with pedestrian guard rails. Or the no-man's-land between the two.

    At least there will still be a fence to hold Zhi Min Soh's ghost bike, eh?

    Posted 1 month ago #
  30. neddie

    Initial thoughts:

    They seem to have designed this around a safe crossing angle of 45 degrees, yet studies from around the world have shown the minimum safe angle to be 60 degrees.

    Interestingly, the crossing angle is not shown on the Haymarket drawing, I suspect this is well below 45 degrees for the final track crossing.

    Nothing has been done at the point of conflict where the Haymarket westbound bike lane re-merges with the general traffic lane. The nearside lane needs to be made tram-only and a island incorporated into the lane to prevent motor-vehicles crossing into the cycle lane.

    I expect Living Streets will be furious about the loss of pavement outside Top Shop, although I think the design there looks good, apart from that & the crossing angles being too shallow.

    There is now so much yellow boxing on West Maitland St., I'm not sure how any car is supposed to navigate that entire junction from Dalry Rd to West Maitland without getting caught somewhere in the yellow boxing

    Posted 1 month ago #

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