A death on the tram tracks

This morning, people working for Edinburgh Council killed a 24 year old woman.

They weren’t there as the wheels of the bus rolled over her body, but they were there when they wrote that cyclists should cross the tram tracks at as close to a right angle as possible to avoid falling.

They were there when they reviewed the plans for Princes St that made crossing the tracks at a right angle impossible, and they were there when they saw those plans first rendered in tarmac and metal.

They were there in 2012 when people cycling in Edinburgh used the opened road and called it “a death trap”.

There were there later that year when solicitors forecast a £1m compensation bill for the 74 people who’d been injured so far, and called it “a fatality waiting to happen”.

They were there in 2013 when video footage was released of a person being thrown from their bike after their wheel was trapped by the tracks.

They were there in 2015 when solicitors warned “it’s absolutely inevitable that unless something happens we will see a death on the streets of our capital city”.

They were there earlier this year when a surgeon at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary reported that 191 people on bikes had been injured from falls on the tracks, 65 of them with broken bones. The cost to the NHS so far was roughly £1.25m.

They weren’t there today, but they were there shortly after to say:

Cycle safety is of utmost importance to the Council … We were very saddened to hear of the tragic accident in the city centre. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the young woman.
Edinburgh council spokesperson

This was not an accident.

It was the inevitable result of over five years of incompetence, ignorance, and callousness towards vulnerable road users from Edinburgh Council.

It is the result of someone calculating that the costs of compensating those injured was less that the costs of removing the danger.

It is a young woman’s life reduced to a risk impact statement. An entry on a ledger.

I hope Police Scotland tear the council apart in their search for answers.