Hazards of cycling along tram tracks
Your article, of April 25, highlights well the hazards of tram tracks for cycling.
The first-generation tram network, before disability discrimination became an issue, didn’t have platforms at stops.
There is certainly clear reasoning behind platforms – trams, unlike buses, are able to make use of them because they can stop alongside them with perfect accuracy.
Unfortunately, making life easy for tram passengers creates a serious hazard for cyclists, who have to cross the rail to pass the platform, (which should be done at as wide an angle as possible).
Another hazard is rails crossing the carriageway at an oblique angle, for example at the south end of Shalesmoor tram stop, and on Ridgeway Road, approaching Manor Top – you need to ride slowly and lift your front wheel to cross each rail. What worries me most however, is the actions of other road users.
Wherever there are tram tracks, all road users, including pedestrians crossing the road, drivers emerging from side roads, vehicle occupants opening doors, and parked drivers moving off, need to pay attention to cyclists and appreciate the extreme restriction on their sideways movement.
The advice to cyclists should be to ride between the rails as much as possible – keeping up with motor traffic is not normally a problem in the city centre.
You should never ride at the edge of the road, left of the tram tracks, when passing parked vehicles, side roads or large numbers of pedestrians (some of whom might step off the pavement). If anything gets in your way, you are trapped.