EDINBURGH Trams insurance premiums have nearly doubled after an average of one claim a month by cyclists and motorcyclists.

Only two firms applied to take over the trams firm’s “poor policy” it has emerged, as Edinburgh City Council considers awarding the latest contract.

Cycling campaigners have consistently criticised the layout of the nine-mile Edinburgh tram system.

Premiums were £807,609 in total for the first four years of the trams running since 2014, but the equivalent value of the contract for the next three years is £1.4 million.

The council said costs were associated to a number of factors including tax rises.

Stephen Moir, council executive director of resources, said in a report to the finance committee that the policy has also seen the excess – the amount the trams are responsible for paying in each case – rise from £10,000 to £100,000.

So far no money has been paid out on cyclist claims, as none of the claims has been settled.

Mr Moir said: “The claims history for this policy is poor and this allied to the uncertainty around the outcome of litigated claims involving injury to cyclists was likely to make the policy unattractive to insurers and would lead to premiums increasing significantly.

“Due to the poor claims history, the uncertainty around litigated cyclist claims and the fact there have been three rises in insurance premium tax in the last two years from six per cent, to 10% and then 12% and with further rises likely, the council had budgeted for an increase to current premiums with annual indexation.”

The council is consulting on a £165m extension to Newhaven, a controversial move after the original route went more than £200m over budget and came into operation three years late.

Dave Du Feu, of campaigners Spokes Lothian, said: “It is very unfortunate the layout of the original tram has resulted in so many tramline crashes and injuries, and hence so many claims against the council.

“This should be yet another reason for the council to rethink its plans for Leith Walk between Pilrig and Foot of the Walk, which introduce additional traffic lanes and therefore squeeze cycle and pedestrian provision intolerably.

“The proposed cycle provision will force people to cycle close to the tramlines when overtaking parked vehicles, and any traffic moving out can inadvertently force the bike into the tramlines.

“This will be a considerably worse situation than the Princes Street layout, where the only traffic is buses and taxis. A rethink is essential. The present proposal not only endangers cyclists but creates very bad pedestrian conditions.”

A City of Edinburgh spokesman said: “Following a robust tendering process, two bids were received for the contract, with one bid being fully compliant with requirements. A report outlining recommendations will be discussed at the meeting of the Finance and Resources Committee.”The latest cost controversy to hit the trams comes after earlier documents showed 248 cyclists claimed to have had accidents caused by Edinburgh’s tram tracks since 2011.

Zhi Min Soh, a medical student, was killed in a collision with a minibus after her wheel reportedly became stuck in a track in Princes Street.

Concerns over injuries caused by tram tracks incidents have also led to 152 cyclists moving to sue the council through Thompsons Solicitors.