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royal portals appear on the Meadows cycle path as mourners line up in Edinburgh

Portolos for the long queue of people waiting to pay their respects to the Queen of Edinburgh have been branded an ‘accident waiting to happen’ after several appeared along a major cycle route.

There are fears that the placement of temporary toilets in the Meadows, where mourners queue and move slowly towards St Giles Cathedral – where Queen Elizabeth II rests in repose – puts cyclists and pedestrians at increased risk of collision.

Local cycling campaign Spokes has warned that people using the toilets set up on North Meadow Walk could be hit by passing cyclists, while cyclists themselves also risk crashing into toilet doors suddenly opening then that some open directly onto the path, which is part of the National Cycle Route 75.

Additionally, half of the cycle path has been completely blocked off along a stretch of the promenade where approximately 30 gates have been installed.

Spokes Lothian Cycle Campaign spokesman Chris Oliver took a tour of the Meadows this morning and said the path should be closed ‘or an accident will definitely happen’.

He said: ‘The placement of the toilet door is potentially very dangerous.

“There doesn’t seem to be a lot of planning. I think they needed to get to a hard surface quickly.

“A large tent was placed nearby on the grass on fairly soft mud. I expect the grass to deteriorate quickly, especially if it rains.

Mr Oliver, a retired surgeon, added: ‘I understand why they did this, it’s so they have a hard surface to get into the toilet.

“They will be gone in a few days but there will be a lot of people trampling the Meadows, there will be mud everywhere, it will be a bit of a quagmire.”

He stressed that the risk of accidents will increase after dark and called for the temporary closure of the path and the establishment of a diversion.

“There’s nothing worse than walking out of the bathroom and getting hit by a bike,” he added.

Those hoping to pay their respects after the Queen’s death last week must collect bracelets in George Square and then stand in a 1.5-mile queue on the Royal Mile.

Thousands of people are expected to queue overnight to file past the late monarch’s coffin, before it is airlifted to London on Tuesday.

Responding to concerns over the placement of portaloos in the Meadows, Edinburgh City Council said queuing arrangements to St Giles had been “fully coordinated by the Scottish Government”.

Thomas Clarke, PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, also walked past the toilets this morning and posted a picture on Twitter, writing: “Poor cyclist 100% hit by gate door today .”

Speaking to the Local Democracy Information Service, Thomas added: ‘My concern is that someone opens the door and hits a cyclist, but also that a cyclist might hit someone when leaving the portaloo, this Not only is it dangerous for cyclists it’s dangerous for pedestrians as well.

“If a cyclist approaches from the side where the door opens, they may not see the pedestrian until very late.”

He said no signs urging caution or diversion had been put up.

“As far as I know, everyone was still using the bike path,” Thomas explained.

“They always use it because the other side of the path is for pedestrians and so there are people walking around there and obviously you don’t want to weave between pedestrians, it’s just a bad idea. ”

Morningside Councilor Ben Parker said: ‘It’s good to see the gates are in place on the Meadows as we expect the area to be very busy over the coming week.

“Unfortunately, however, the current placement is unsafe and an accident is imminent. I hope they can be brought back before there is an incident.

“I urge all path users to be respectful of one another as the area becomes increasingly crowded this week.”

The Scottish Government has been approached for comment.

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