Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Cyclists win damages over Edinburgh tram track injuries

Edinburgh tram Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The two cyclists' bike wheels get stuck in the tram grooves

Two cyclists who were thrown from their bikes while crossing tram tracks in Edinburgh have won undisclosed damages from the city council.

Elizabeth Fairley and Ian Lowdean sued after being injured in falls in Haymarket and Princes Street.

The council had denied liability, insisting the cyclists should have taken more care.

But in a Court of Session ruling, judge Lady Wolffe said "they bore no responsibility" for the accidents.

A further 39 claims by cyclists against the council and Edinburgh Trams, which had been put on hold, are now expected to proceed.

'Hugely relieved'

In May 2017 a cyclist died after her wheel became stuck in tram tracks and she fell into the path of a minibus in Princes Street.

Zhi Min Soh, from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, was a medical student at Edinburgh University at the time of the accident.

The Court of Session heard that Elizabeth Fairley suffered facial and knee injuries in her 2013 fall.

She said she was "hugely relieved" by the ruling and added: "Edinburgh Council said the accident was my fault but we can now see from this court case that the tram lines are to blame and are very dangerous.

"The council must get to work and make sure the lines are now made safe so we can avoid any more accidents and injury."

A spokesman for Ms Fairley's legal representatives, Thompsons Solicitors, said: "This is a landmark legal decision which completely vindicates the years of concern expressed by cyclists over the appalling dangers posed by the tram lines."

Ms Fairley, an advanced nurse practitioner, was travelling from the Royal Hospital for Sick Children to her home in Corstorphine when she came off her bike.

'Thrown over'

She told how she had approached the tram line at Haymarket with caution as a previous incident had made her aware of the danger of a wheel getting caught in the tracks.

She said: "I knew from that previous experience you had to cross them, if at all possible, at 90 degrees. It is not always possible, but anything to avoid your wheel getting dragged back into the tram tracks.

"It all happened in a split second. The bike got thrown over. I got thrown over to the right-hand side and fell on the road."

Ms Fairley, who was wearing a cycling helmet, originally sued for £50,000, but the court heard that the amount of damages to be paid had been agreed. Mr Lowdean originally sued for £15,000.

In her ruling, Lady Wolffe said: "In submissions, the defender submitted that each pursuer failed to take care for his or her own safety. However, there was no specification of how or in what manner they had failed to do so.

"I have considered the evidence about the few specific steps it was suggested they could take, and concluded that the evidence does not support the defenders' cases of contributory negligence against the pursuers."