More road signs? On your bike!

Drew McAdam pic, Gazette columnist
Drew McAdam pic, Gazette columnist

ACCORDING to the newspapers and the ‘‘no win, no fee’’ ambulance chaser websites, the city council in Edinburgh will pay out some £1 million to cyclists who fall off their bikes on account of hitting a tram line.

One of the fundamentalist, radicalised cycling lobby groups has stated that it was “crucial that signs were put up.”

Of course, that’s what we need: Even more signage and street furniture. Any suggestions for the wording? How about “Hey! Idiot on the bike! Watch out for tram lines/drains/pavements/pedestrians etc.”

Mind you, it’s odd that in Amsterdam, which has around 130 miles of tram track and a couple of hundred thousand bicycles, the cyclists seem able to avoid the lines.

Maybe it’s just me but I would think that clambering onto a flimsy metal frame then perching and balancing on a wee seat while spinning your legs in circles while whizzing along the road, is a slightly loopy and perilous activity.

It really shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise if you come a cropper.

I’ll bet that, if bicycles were invented today, the Health and Safety Executive would ban them on the grounds that they are inherently dangerous, prone to cause the person perched upon it to regularly lose their balance at speed, leading to pain, injury and an ambulance race to the hospital. That such contraptions exist is to the detriment of rider, pedestrians, wildlife and shrubbery.

A solution might be ripping up all the tram tracks. Personally, I’ve always thought that a network of cable cars would be simpler, cheaper and a darn sight more fun way of getting to work in the morning.

Another suggestion is that we could fill in the tracks with concrete and fit rubber tyres to the trams so they could use any road. Sort of like a bus.

So, while we are travelling by bus – or cable car – rogue cyclists could continue happily ignoring traffic lights, carrying friends on the back of their bikes, riding on pavements, cycling in the dark with no lights, and chatting on mobile phones as they tear down hills.

Alternatively, they could study the Go Amstersdam website where cyclists are encouraged to use hand signals when changing direction; keep pace with fellow bikers; ride two abreast, as long as doing so doesn’t hold up traffic… Oh, and the website’s last piece of advice: keep your wheels out of the tram tracks by approaching them at right angles. That way, the rest of us won’t have to subsidise your foolhardiness to the tune of a million quid.

Drew McAdam