Tram System Related Cycling Injuries

J. F. Maempel, Samuel MacKenzie, Paul Stirling, C McCann, Christopher William Oliver, Tim O White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Understanding of tram-system related cycling injuries (TSRCI) is poor. The aim of this study was to report the spectrum of injuries, demographics and social deprivation status of patients. Secondary aims included assessment of accident circumstances, effects of TSRCI on patients’ confidence cycling, together with time off work and cycling. A retrospective review of patients presenting to emergency services across all hospitals in a city with tram related injuries between May 2009 and April 2016 was undertaken. Medical records and imagining were analysed and patients were contacted by telephone. 191 cyclists (119 males, 72 females) were identified. 63 patients sustained one or more fractures or dislocations. Upper limb fractures/dislocations occurred in 55, lower limb fractures in 8 and facial fractures in 2. Most patients demonstrated low levels of socioeconomic deprivation. In 142 cases, the wheel was caught in tram-tracks, while in 32 it slid on tracks. The latter occurred more commonly in wet conditions(p=0.028). 151 patients answered detailed questionnaires. Ninety-eight were commuting. 112 patients intended to cross tramlines and 65 accidents occurred at a junction. Eighty patients reported traffic pressures contributed to their accident. 120 stated that their confidence was affected and 24 did not resume cycling. Female gender(p<0.001) and presence of a fracture/dislocation(p=0.012) were independent predictors of negative effects on confidence. Patients sustaining a fracture/dislocation spent more time off work (median 5 days vs 1,p<0.001) and cycling (median 57 days vs 21 days. TSRCI occur predominantly in young to middle-aged adults with low levels of socioeconomic deprivation, most commonly when bicycle wheels get caught in tram-tracks. They result in various injuries, frequently affecting the upper limb. Traffic pressures are commonly implicated. Most patients report negative effects on confidence and a sizeable minority do not resume cycling. TSRCI can result in significant loss of working and cycling days.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery
Early online date24 Jan 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Jan 2018

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • fractures
  • edinburgh
  • light rail
  • injury


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