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These Cyclists Sue City Over Tram Accidents And Here’s What Happened

It seems that driving a bicycle can really cause you harm if you do not think about tram tracks, however, with the right attorney by your side, it can be turned into a nice claim suing the city. At least that is what these Edinburgh cyclists did.

The inspiration

This story begins with an accident that happened about 4 years ago, on October 16th, 2013 when a nurse fell from her bike because the wheel got caught on the tram line. Elizabeth Farley, a 56-year-old nurse suffered multiple injuries from her fall, including a dislocated jaw and a knee injury. So, for her fall, she decided to sue the Edinburgh Trams and the city council, asking for 50,000 pounds in damages.

And she is not the only one. A similar case was filed by Mr. Ian Lowdean Overall and the story is quite similar, with the notable difference in the claim as Mr. Lowdean is asking for 15,000 pounds for his accident that happened in the late October 2012.

Why do they believe they have a case?

Well, the main claim that they are making is that the road layout as such forces cyclists to cross the tram track at an unsafe angle. This means that the actions taken by the city of Edinburgh have put cyclists in jeopardy. Another claim that Ms. Fairley is maintaining is that around the time of the accident she suffered, numerous other people also had incidents after coming into contact with the tram track in question. And it was usually under the same conditions that the falls take place.

The acute angle of crossing the track causes the tire to slip into the track and get stuck, thus leading to a nasty fall. In fact, her lawyer has brought up the fact that Edinburgh sees a lot more tram track accidents to any other city that has introduced rail systems.

To be even more precise, the layout of the road and the way traffic is set there makes the cyclists hit the track at the angle of around 30 degrees, which greatly increases the chance of an accident happening.

The route she was taking was once closed for maintenance and Ms. Fairley took it only four days after it was reopened to traffic. She also points out that the town has taken measures that were meant to help cyclists after her fall which can be used as a proof that the city understood the danger of the situation she was in.

The damages


Ms. Fairley, who is an advanced nurse practitioner at Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh, had to go through physiotherapy for the injury she suffered to her knee and which made her unable to kneel. She used to be regular at ballet dancing practices prior to the accident, and, while she is still practicing, the injuries left her unable to perform some of the dance moves she used to enjoy. So, not only is she suing for the physical injuries, damages, and pain, but she also has a strong case for the suffering that followed the incident.

The claim also included the replacement costs for the clothing and protective gear she was wearing at the time of the accident.

The response

The Edinburgh City Council has contested the liability of this action. The counter claim that they are making is saying that the tram lines are visible and their presence is obvious to every road user that is paying reasonable attention and taking care of themselves. They also explained that a careful cyclist should always cross the lines at an angle that is nearing the ninety degrees angle and, if they cannot, they should simply dismount the bicycle and cross the tram tracks on foot.

The trial

After the hearing at the Court of Session, a judge decided to set the next hearing in May two years from now for both of these cases. And, while the city was quite confident regarding their case in front of the court, a new accident that happened in May this year might make it a lot harder for the City of Edinburgh since a young woman died after her wheel got stuck in the tram tracks and she fell in front of a minibus near the place Mr. Lowdean had his accident.

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