In a landmark ruling, two cyclists who were left injured after crossing the tram tracks in Scotland's capital have been awarded damages of an undisclosed amount.
Elizabeth Fairley, 58, and Ian Lowdean, 35, have sued Edinburgh Trams Limited and Transport Initiatives Edinburgh respectively following injuries which occurred at Haymarket and Princes Street between October 2012 and October 2013. Both claimants have also sued Edinburgh City Council.
While the defenders insisted Ms Fairly and Mr Lowdean should have taken more care, a judge ruled the tram tracks ‘posed a relevant hazard’ in each case and that both pursuers ‘bore no responsibility’.
At the time of Ms Fairley’s accident, there was no dedicated cycle lane at the tram lines at Haymarket. Although there was a cycle lane which commenced in the taxi area, the defenders did not criticise Ms Fairley’s decision not to use it as it conflicted with a ‘keep right’ sign. Instead, Ms Fairley attempted to cross two sets of tram tracks at an angle of around 30 degrees when she was thrown off her bike and on to a road of oncoming traffic when her rear wheel got caught in the tracks.
Mr Lowdean was cycling east on Prince Street, when he was forced from the right-hand lane in between the tram lines, into the left lane. Attempting to cross, Mr Lowdean’s back wheel slipped, he came off his bike and fell near the pedestrian crossing.
Lady Wolffe stated both pursuers had to cross tram tracks at an acute angle, and the road layout was a hazard which the defenders knew of and was, therefore ‘reasonably foreseeable’.
The judge concluded:
“The evidence does not support the defenders’ case of contributory negligence against the pursuers. There was no breach of duty on the part of either pursuer; they bore no responsibility in law for the accidents that befell them.”
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