January 2011

Cyclists and Lothian Buses

With cyclist crashes on Princes Street tramlines continuing at around 2-3 a month known to Spokes (and presumably others not known) a number of victims have complimented Lothian Buses drivers on their awareness of the problems and their prompt action…

Lothian Buses have included cycle awareness in their driver training for some time, and posters in the depot reinforce the message.  Since the tramlines have been installed in Princes Street, their specific dangers for cyclists have also been made known to bus drivers.  The training appears to be paying off, as quite a number of the crash victims have praised  Lothian Bus drivers …

Whilst I did not catch the number of the Lothian Buses vehicle behind me (for obvious reasons) the driver should be commended for his action in recognising the situation ahead of him and slowing sufficiently to avoid a much more severe incident.

No harm done, a spectacular 10 yard slide, fortunately with an aware bus driver behind.

I crashed onto my back and side on Princes Street, narrowily avoiding being run over by the oncoming Lothian Bus … the bus driver, who thought he had run me over, I feel, was brilliant.  He got me up and helped me off the road. Can’t recall the bus number but I am sure he knows who he is!  If you do speak to Lothian Buses then please thank them and hopefully they know who he was.

… as I crossed the tramline something happened and I was on the ground with a bus just past me and one not far behind. It stopped as I leapt out of the road. Although the damage was in the end not too bad, it could have been fatal had the bus driver not stopped quickly.

It is excellent to see how seriously and effectively Lothian Buses is working to minimise and ameliorate the existing crash risks.  For the avoidance of doubt – this doesn’t affect our aspiration for better cycling conditions on Princes Street (including a pedestrian/ cyclist-only area on at least one side of the tramlines).   See also the report of our 19.11.09 Princes St public meeting.  And the recent Gehl Architects report to the council.

Of course, there is always the occasional rogue driver (as with the occasional rogue cyclist).  But even here, where the bus driver is in the wrong, the company takes the matter very seriously, as is shown by an interesting correspondence on the City Cycling Edinburgh forum – not related to tramlines in this case.

A rundown on the very positive Lothian Buses approach to cycling issues was given by MD Ian Craig at a Spokes public meeting in 2009.   A brief report can be found on page 2 of Spokesworker 26.4.09 [pdf 464k].

Contact information…

If you have a tramline crash … even if no injuries, please report it to Edinburgh Trams, copied to Spokes, as on our tram downloads page.

If you have a Lothian Buses complaint (or compliment) … contact the customer service dept, tel 554 4494, mail@lothianbuses.com. Please report any incident promptly so that the bus external video sound and vision evidence can be inspected before the tapes are wiped.

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