Sad cycling death in Edinburgh

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  • Sad cycling death in Edinburgh
  • Premier Icon aracer
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    pjay wrote:

    There’s also an article and a sadly prophetic one from a few days ago – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-32899109 so as others have said, this doesn’t seem unexpected.

    A couple of years ago (not trying to be pedantic, but it probably should be pointed out it’s not that recent an article – and surprising in a way it’s taken this long for somebody to be killed).

    The comments from the council spokesperson in the follow up article make me quite angry – clearly it’s not lack of awareness which is the problem. Maybe they should also check exactly how other European cities incorporate cyclists and trams which doesn’t result in them having the same problems. I really hope they get hammered by the FAI, and what’s more that one or more people get personally held responsible.

    FunkyDunc
    Member

    I used to live in Sheffield and was very wary of the tracks, but not aware of fatalities there?

    What’s so different in Edinburgh?

    PJay
    Member

    Whoops, yes I didn’t spot that it was May 2015! Even then there still seem to have been quite a number of significant injuries. Today’s article’s suggest that the injury count is approaching 200.

    Premier Icon imnotverygood
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    What’s so different in Edinburgh?

    The fact that they designed/built the tracks without giving any consideration to cyclists. This was because the politics of the whole fiasco meant that they were desperate to cut costs and finish the job as quickly as they could.

    Premier Icon dukeduvet
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    Awful news and thoughts with family and friends.

    I really do hope everyone pulls together to make Edinburgh council realise that something urgent should be done

    Just to add to the whole tram shambles the council dug up half of Leith resulting in businesses closing then decided not to bother laying the line down. Now they want to do it again. In principle I’m for trams but not when mismanaged and dangerous.

    kcr
    Member

    Examples of Edinburgh’s tram related cycling “infrastructure”:


    The last one shows what Haymarket originally looked like after the tram work. Travelling from left to right of the photograph, there wasn’t room to cycle on the main road between the tracks and the island where the traffic lights are, so cyclists were supposed to filter to the left (impossible due to parked taxis in the picture) go behind the traffic light island, rejoin the main road, cross the tram tracks at right angles and then proceed on the right of the tram route. That is actually what they came up with as a design when the road opened. They clearly hadn’t thought about cycling at all. It has been improved a bit now, but it is still not very good.

    I’m very sorry to hear about the death of the cyclist. An accident like that should be impossible if properly designed facilities had been delivered in the first place.

    rudedog
    Member

    Sad news indeed. Its outrageous how badly thought out the tramlines are from Princess street to Haymarket and there is such a depressing inevitably about this tragedy.

    A couple of months ago my wife witnessed a near fatality a few hundred yards from where this accident occurred in almost identical circumstances. Fortunately in that incident, wife said the oncoming bus managed to stop in time but the wheels were literally inches from where the cyclist landed (after getting his wheel caught in the tramline) – she was convinced the guy was going to be crushed.

    Its crazy when you think if this had happened in a workplace, somebody high up would be getting charged with industrial manslaughter.

    Premier Icon tenfoot
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    That first picture looks horrible to negotiate, and made even worse when the surface is wet. Appalling.

    rudedog
    Member

    The first picture is haymarket yards and is actually part of sustrans cycle route 1!

    Fortunately its not busy with other traffic like Princess street but its still ridiculous to have a national cycle route traverse such badly thought out and dangerous infrastructure.

    Premier Icon jimmy
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    is there a case for the bus driver to answer for? If he can’t stop in time to avoid someone who fell off their bike in front of them, then surely he was driving too close?

    I commute by bike and bus In Edinburgh and from experience I’ve seen double deckers trailing cyclists by a matter of feet way too often. Its at a cyclists pace but really there is no need to even risk an emergency stop if the cyclist had an off. If the buses hung back just a few more meters they’d be, ooo, 3 seconds later to their next stop? Winds me up seeing it.

    Premier Icon himupstairs
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    For those that are in Edinburgh next week, it looks likely that there will be an informal gathering on Wednesday morning at the junction of Lothian Road/Shandwick Place.

    8.30 seems to be the time. The details of why, what, and when are being discussed here:

    http://citycyclingedinburgh.info/bbpress/topic.php?id=17789&page=6

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
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    While the tramlines are an issue, how close was the vehicle behind her to not be able to stop?

    Premier Icon NZCol
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    <deleted as I was actually wrong>

    Premier Icon himupstairs
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    It’s not been made clear which way the cyclist was going.

    One of the witness statements on the news said the bus and cyclist had just left the traffic lights together, other reports refer to the bus as oncoming, which suggests otherwise.

    Premier Icon himupstairs
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    NZ, I hope you are ok. Not a nice thing to experience.

    Premier Icon bigjim
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    The bit around haymarket is totally mental, I don’t have a pic of it but the orange cycle lane that is designed to lead you over the tram lines at 45 degrees or whatever basically spits you directly into megabuses. Apparently there was an Australian contingent visiting last year or the year before to see how not to design a tram line, apparently it’s called “not doing an Edinburgh”

    While the tramlines are an issue, how close was the vehicle behind her to not be able to stop?

    I’m not sure it was necessarily behind her.

    Premier Icon bigjim
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    Well from the Edinburgh forum link it seems it maybe was behind her, but still, I’m not sure there’s much point in speculation.

    Interesting about the illegal practice of rabbies tour guides speaking whilst driving, I suspect that will come up in court. Unbelievable about passers by filming the victim getting cpr though, that’s dark.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    The bit around haymarket is totally mental,

    It is awful. I rode it a couple of weeks ago – and I am used to Sheffield trams…

    I’m not sure it was necessarily behind her.

    Ah, I hadn’t thought of that.

    Stopping distance at 20mph = 12 metres? Possibly longer for a minibus?

    Either way I’m not sure the minibus driver could be held at fault for not being able to stop, nobody maintains 12 metre distance.

    CEC seem to be getting into the tricky territory of arguing that commuter cyclists should have the cornering and bunnyhopping skills necessary to negotiate tram tracks in heavy traffic, good way to encourage folk off bikes and back into cars…

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
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    The bit around haymarket is totally mental,

    It is awful. I rode it a couple of weeks ago – and I am used to Sheffield trams…

    I’m not sure it was necessarily behind her.

    Ah, I hadn’t thought of that.

    Premier Icon amedias
    Subscriber

    Either way I’m not sure the minibus driver could be held at fault for not being able to stop, nobody maintains 12 metre distance.

    I don’t know the specifics of this accident in particular so please don;t take the following comments as relating to this particular event, but lets take those statements in isolation…

    Either way I’m not sure the a minibus vehicle driver could be held at fault for not being able to stop

    That’s exactly the kind of thing you should plan for when driving, leaving appropriate distances so that you can respond to unexpected* events, especially in cities or other urban areas where this a lot of traffic and mixing with other road users. To not do so would mean that every little incident would result in drivers rear-ending each other and accidents all over the place, it’s a core principle of driving, be vigilant, and give yourself time to react and distance to stop/avoid.

    nobody maintains 12 metre** distance

    Well, where to start… just because other people don’t take care or drive appropriately doesn’t mean it’s OK. It also means paradoxically that you should take more care. If someone is tailgating you, the correct response is not to get closer to the vehicle in front, it’s to leave more room in front of you. If everyone else is doing it then you still have the option of doing it properly.

    This is classic ‘everyone else is rubbish so it’s OK for me to be rubbish’ justification, it’s not OK.

    * let’s not even get into the fact that a cyclist negotiating tramlines and having an accidnet isn’t exactly unexpected, given the history it might be unlikely but it is exactly the kind of thing you should expect, just like when passing schools, it is unlikely that stray children will run out in front of you, but it’s a possible scenario to expect and be vigilant for.

    ** although decent guidance the ‘official’ stopping distances are still just that, modern cars may be able to stop quicker, or weather/surface conditions may mean it’s longer, so appropriate distance rather than fixed 12m

    Premier Icon scotroutes
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    It’s surely not difficult to imagine a scenario where a vehicle and a cyclist are side-by-side, the cyclist falls to one side and is hit by the vehicle, especially if they have just moved off from a junction and the cyclist is filtering or on a marked cycle lane alongside the main carriageway. In that case, I wouldn’t expect the vehicle to be 12 metres behind the cyclist (indeed, there’d be no need for cycle lanes)

    Premier Icon amedias
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    It’s surely not difficult to imagine a scenario where a vehicle and a cyclist are side-by-side, the cyclist falls to one side and is hit by the vehicle

    Absolutely, which is why I made a very clear disclaimer about this not being about this particular incident as it sounds like that what happened, one of those very rare cases where all the wrong things happened at the same time and the margins for error were either not there or too tight.

    It’s just like the archetypal story of a rider hitting a pothole and falling to the path of the car behind, terrible, and on the face of it unavoidable, except it’s not always unavoidable is it? With enough passing room and distance and a driver noticing that there are potholes and understanding that they might pose a risk to the rider a lot of the time it could be avoided.

    However, you’ve thrown in two different scenarios there too… if they have just moved off from a junction speed will be nowhere near 20mph yet, add in that with a proper passing distance, coupled with proper observation* massively reduces the chances of such an outcome happening.

    *it’s very unusual for people to *suddenly* fall (except on ice, when you should be giving a wider berth anyway), there is normally some tell tale wobble, or instability before hand, and being that the tram tracks are a known hazard and visible to drivers too it should be a fairly identifiable possibility to drivers and so should leave room accordingly.

    Premier Icon amedias
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    On a related note…

    Modern proximity warning, collision avoidance and emergency auto-braking systems are becoming more common now, I often wonder how urban traffic would be different if (when?) every vehicle was fitted with such a system.

    Would we find it getting activated all the time due the way people currently drive in cities?

    I guess if you could flip a magic switch and turn it on for every car on the road right now there’d be a bit of that for a while, until everyone adjusted to leaving more room, and then I guess the systems would become semi-redundant was we’d then have people leaving safe distances by default and it would only kick in when necessary for those unexpected events or lapses.

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