Luas Tracks & Cycling Injuries
Over the past 18 months, since the new rails began to be installed for the Luas Cross City project, Dublin Cycling Campaign has received multiple messages from people who’ve fallen while cycling on or near the new tram tracks. While many of the falls resulted in relatively minor injuries, some have been more severe and have had life-changing consequences for the victims.
Dublin Cycling Campaign has been calling for better integration of cycling into Luas Cross City since the project’s inception, but those calls have fallen on deaf ears.
We have also asked, via Cyclist.ie, for a declaration of the number of people injured by falls on tram tracks during the construction of Luas Cross City. Queries were submitted to the Department of Transport, the National Transport Authority, Transport Infrastructure Ireland, the Health Service Executive, Luas Cross City, and the Health & Safety Authority. Parliamentary Questions were also submitted by Tommy Broughan TD in relation to this query.
We did not receive a single straight answer about the number of people injured in falls from bicycles during the construction of Luas Cross City.
Below we have published, anonymously, a compilation of some of the stories that people have told us about their experiences of falling while cycling on, or near, the new Luas tracks.
1st December 2016 I stopped at a red light on Nassau Street and skidded on the Luas track. I came over my handle bars, dislocated my shoulder & fractured my hip socket. I emailed Luas from my work email and they painted a cyclist falling on the road outside my office. I’m now a pedestrian, having been told that my hip won’t take another fall without a complicated operation. I have picked up two cyclists since then who fell on the tracks. The Luas layout in the vicinity of College Green makes cross-city cycling very difficult.
1st February 2017 I fell as I was cycling over O’Connell bridge to turn onto Eden quay. It’s going to be a few weeks before I’m fit to cycle on the bike again, but I’ll have to take it to a shop to see how much it’s going to cost to get fixed. I have cycled that road to/from work daily and always take time to carefully cycle through the city as there’s quite a few places that don’t have cycle lanes. - Weeks Later - My knee isn’t healed at all, still not on the bike, stopped all my sporting activities. I actually spoke to my doctor last week, he said due to the soft tissue damage it won’t be fully healed until around Christmas. It’s very painful, even to touch the side of my knee is sore. I’m thinking of possibly going to get another x-ray on my knee, it surely still shouldn’t be sore to touch 4 months on.
2nd February 2017 I was knocked off my bike a few weeks ago by the LUAS lines on O’Connell bridge. Like most other people, I was trying to go across at a 90 degree angle but it was wet and my front wheel slipped into the groove and down I went. I was very lucky that all the traffic stopped, including 2 buses behind me. My raincoat, thick leggings and my big strong bike saved me from lots of torn skin but I hurt my back and neck, and had bad bruising for weeks afterwards. It just shocks me that there is no concern for cycle safety around these areas. It was a very scary experience.
5th February 2017 I’ve been cycling in Dublin for about 8 years and had my first accident on Friday. I slipped on Luas tracks when turning right after O’Connell Bridge into Eden Quay. The tracks were wet so the fact that I took them at 45 degrees didn’t make a difference. I was aware that people were getting caught in them, but hadn’t realised they get so unbelievably lethal after the rain. I landed full force on my [helmeted] head at the intersection of 7 lanes of traffic. I went to hospital the next day as I was still feeling foggy and slow.
6th June 2017 One-Nil to the horribly unsafe Luas works at College Green. I cycle a cyclocross bike and I am very experienced and my 37c wheel got stuck in the groove and I was left concussed on the road only for my helmet and the taxi driver saw me go under I would be another fatality on the road. Such a danger to cyclists that we have to cross such tracks at unsafe angles that our wheels get stuck in them.
27th June 2017 I recently had a fairly bad accident after getting my wheel stuck in a Luas track. I was forced to go onto the track because construction took up the bike lane without warning. Do you know who I should contact to file a complaint about this? I know it’s an ongoing problem for cyclists and it’s got to stop. So lucky things weren’t worse, but I can see it happening to someone else and being much worse!
10th August 2017 I cycle in Dublin city every day. As I’m cycling years I’m always careful to cross them at perpendicular angles and this morning I did the same, however I still somehow got caught at Trinity’s front gate with a taxi luckily going slowly enough behind as to not run me over after I tumbled off, with my legs caught up in my bike. I’m not sure if the grooves are particularly wider there or it was an unlucky slip on something wet. Nearly every cyclist I know seems to have had some accident or near-accident with them. My knees are busted for the next few days as well as broken gears on my bike. Its also very difficult to navigate turning right at trinity gate while crossing the tracks at an angle and not swerving into traffic turning left.
17th November 2017 I’ve had to peel 2 cyclists off the road at the junction of College Green and Westmoreland Street when they came a cropper on the Luas tracks. One was ok but the other injured herself fairly badly so much so that I had to store her bike for her in our bike shed (I work nearby). It’s only a matter of time before someone gets killed at the pinch point where buses/cars/bikes/Luas converge into one narrow lane at the corner of Trinity. I’ve nearly been rammed by a bus on 2 occasions in the last week. If I had been forced onto the track I would have fell in front of the bus. With so much going on at the pinch point I’m seriously concerned for the safety of cyclists.
11th December 2017 My husband was permanently injured as a result of his tyre becoming lodged in the luas track. He spent 3 weeks in hospital with a Grade 6 tibia plateau fracture, and a broken fibula. He spent 6 months with external fixation and will need a full knee replacement in the near future.
You can also log your cycling collisions or near-misses on the Dublin Inquirer’s excellent Bicycle Collision Tracker tool.**
Help us do more for cycling in Dublin, please consider getting involved.