Edinburgh tram track injuries cost NHS more than £1m

Image caption,
Haymarket in the city's west end is regarded by cyclists as the most dangerous section of tram line.

Injuries caused by tram tracks in Edinburgh over the last seven years have cost the NHS more than £1m.

Figures collated by Prof Chris Oliver, a consultant at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, showed 252 people have suffered injuries.

A breakdown of the statistics indicated 191 of those injured were cyclists.

Prof Oliver, who specialises in trauma and orthopaedic surgeries, will present his figures later this year to the British Orthopaedic Organisation.

Upper limb fractures

There have been 119 men and 72 women (total 191 patients) with cycling injuries from tram tracks.

The most common injury was from getting the bike wheel caught in the tram track (142) while the second was the wheel sliding on a tram track (32).

Accidents due to wheels sliding on the tram tracks were more likely to happen in wet conditions.

At least 55 patients had upper limb fractures or dislocations, while eight sustained lower limb fractures and two had facial fractures.

One sustained both upper and lower limb fractures and one had facial and lower limb fractures.

Prof Oliver said: "We deal with thousands of fractures a year in the Royal and it's become a new work steam for us.

"It's not the £1m cost to the NHS, the problem is the suffering caused by the accidents and people having time off work, often ending up with some chronic disability with reduced function in a wrist or a shoulder and perhaps not getting back to sport, not being inclined to get back to cycling.

"These are more significant things that are less tangible to measure."

Lesley Hinds, City of Edinburgh Council's transport convener, said: "We have yet to be shown the full report but the safety of pedestrians and cyclists is of utmost importance to the council and transport for Edinburgh.

"Since the launch of Edinburgh trams we have gone to every effort to raise awareness of its impact on all road users and have ensured clear signage to guide cyclists along the safest routes throughout the city."

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