Cyclist in tramline near-miss weeks before fatal crash

Luisa Brown's accident happened three weeks before a woman was killed.

Princes Street: Scene of Wednesday's accident. <strong>STV</strong>
Princes Street: Scene of Wednesday's accident. STV

A cyclist was involved in a near-miss on Edinburgh’s tramlines less than a month before a woman died in a similar accident.

Luisa Brown was cycling along Princes Street when her wheel slipped on a rail and she fell, injuring her arm and leg.

She narrowly avoided being run over by a car and later reported the incident to Edinburgh Trams.

Her accident on May 13 happened at the same junction where a 24-year-old cyclist lost her life on Wednesday.

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Ms Brown said: “I was waiting at the traffic lights where Shandwick Place meets Princes Street.

“When the lights turned green the car behind me got extremely close, so I felt pressured to move over a tramline into the centre of the lane.

“This resulted in my bike wheel slipping on the wet tramline and I fell to the ground between the traffic. I came incredibly close to being run over by the driver behind me.

“I was luckily helped off the junction by some passers-by and came away with only a sprained knee and elbow, but this could have been so much worse.”

Luisa Brown: Injured in tramline incident.
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Professor Chris Oliver, a surgeon at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, says at least 191 cyclists have been injured in tramline accidents. More than 140 of them have made legal claims against Edinburgh City Council.

He said: “The injuries have been things like wrists and elbow fractures. We’ve also had people with skull fractures and broken hips. In total, we’ve had to do 29 surgeries.”

Prof Oliver, who tweets as @CyclingSurgeon, said the most common injury was from bike wheels getting wedged in tracks.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that campaigners previously discussed improving safety at the junction where the woman died with authorities.

Pressure group Spokes sent a detailed proposal to council officers and councillors more than 18 months ago.

It includes suggestions for changes to lanes and traffic lights at the intersection near House of Fraser, which campaigners believe would allow cyclists to cross the tramlines more safely.

The fatal accident on Wednesday occurred three years to the day since Edinburgh’s trams opened to the public.

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A council spokeswoman said the local authority intends to carry out a safety consultation in the area.

“We remain deeply saddened by yesterday’s tragic accident. Our thoughts are with the young woman’s friends and family,” she said.

“In light of this, and notwithstanding Police Scotland’s ongoing inspection, we will carry out a road safety assessment of the area, considering all users and aspects of the junction and its approaches.

“This will include consultation with key stakeholders and any findings that could lead to safety improvements will be carefully considered.

“Further, and more generally, we have invited Edinburgh Trams to review their day-to-day operations and consider any changes that can be made to enhance safety.

“The council and our partners take road safety extremely seriously and we constantly review the range of measures we have in place to ensure that the Capital’s roads are safe for all road users.

“Following feedback regarding Haymarket junction, for example, we made a number improvements to road markings and signage, resulting in a better experience for cyclists and a drop in the number of incidents.”

Fatal accident: Emergency services at scene. STV

“We continue to make every effort to raise awareness of the impact of the tram on all road users.”

“Since launching three years ago, we have carried out extensive awareness-raising activity both online and on-street, in partnership with other organisations, much of which has focused specifically on cyclists,” she added.


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