Edinburgh Cyclists to get head start at traffic lights

Under new council plans announced today, cyclists will get a head start at traffic light junctions along the tram route.

These new traffic lights that would go green for riders before other traffic would be installed at 14 different sites along the tram route. These same lights are already in use at the Leith Walk/ McDonald Road junction.Plans follow the red cycle lanes for riders to cross tramlines more safely installed last autumn.

The tram route running down Princes Street is one of the busiest with cyclists. Credit: Calum McRobert @ Geograph.org

The work was triggered after the death of Malaysian student Zhi Min Soh, whose bike wheels became caught in tram tracks last May at the junction of Shandwick Place and Queensferry Street. These plans are also part of a public consultation which launched on the council website today and will run unitl the 11th of April.If approved the lights will be expected to be implemented towards the end of the year.

Transport convener Lesley Macinnes stated,

“With the first phase of cycle safety improvements already in place – and, according to our feedback, well-received by cyclists – and the second phase just weeks away from being implemented, we’re now looking to the public for feedback on our proposed designs for phase three, which we aim to put in place later this year.”

“Road safety is absolutely paramount and we’ve been working extremely closely with our partners to refine these designs.”

Early release signals for cyclists have been credited with reducing collisions in cities where they’re already used so these are a particularly desirable option.The council have said a fourth and final phase would involve changes to the road layout at the Princes Street/Lothian Road/Shandwick Place/Queensferry Street/Hope Street junction to improve road safety for cyclists, pedestrians and drivers alike.

 

Edinburgh Young Drivers event strengthens safety message

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A written-off car at the Young Drivers Event

A crash survivor, who sustained life-threatening injuries in a car accident 17 years ago, will share her experience with local young motorists at a road safety education event this week.

The Streets Ahead Edinburgh Young Drivers event is back at the Corn Exchange for its sixth year running and will be hosted by Forth 1 DJ Grant Thomson, teaching sixth year students from various schools how to drive safer on the roads.

The popular event, which is sponsored by Digby Brown Solicitors, is jointly run by all partners in the Streets Ahead Edinburgh, including City of Edinburgh Council, Police Scotland, NHS Lothian, among other major local services.

Guest speaker Laura Torrence has been in a wheelchair since 1999 when she was in a serious car crash at the age of 16, who now works as a peer support advisor with charity Spinal Injuries Scotland.

As well as talks from experts, students attending the four-day event will have an opportunity to try out a selection of fun, interactive activities that stress the importance of cautious driving, including drunk goggles and a breathalyser.

The wreckage of a crashed car and a hard-hitting play called Friends Disunited performed by Baldy Bane Theatre Company will also help drive home safety messages.

Councillor Adam McVey, Transport Vice Convener, said: “There’s no doubt it’s an exciting time in a young person’s life when they first get behind the wheel as a newly qualified driver. However the statistics on road casualties and deaths among young people make for very sobering reading.

“Our Young Drivers events drive home some very hard-hitting messages in a fun and engaging way. Pupils and teachers who have attended in previous years have found the sessions extremely helpful and thought-provoking and I’m sure those coming along this year will get a lot out of it too.”

Facts from Road Safety Scotland state that road traffic is the biggest killer of young people in Scotland, and that an average of 54 accidents a week in the country involve a young driver between 17 and 25.

Laura Torrance said: “This is the prime age to target, especially as I was their age when I had my accident. We want to get it through to them that this is not a joke – this is serious stuff, this is your life we’re talking about. Driving can be really fun – I still enjoy driving myself – but it’s really important to make sure you drive safely and wear your seatbelt.”

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