Tram chiefs back driver after man knocked down

Police take statements after the man was hit by a tram near the Gyle at around 2pm yesterday. Picture: ALAN SIMPSON

Police take statements after the man was hit by a tram near the Gyle at around 2pm yesterday. Picture: ALAN SIMPSON

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A MAN struck down by a tram in the outskirts of the city has been taken to hospital for treatment.

The 32-year-old is believed to have walked out in front of the vehicle at around 2pm yesterday.

A man has been taken top hospital after an accident involving a tram at Lochside Crescent.

A man has been taken top hospital after an accident involving a tram at Lochside Crescent.

Tram bosses said they were “confident” their driver had “reacted appropriately”.

The incident, which happened at Lochside Crescent, near Edinburgh Park station, is thought to be the first case of a tram hitting and injuring a pedestrian in the city since the service launched in May last year.

Emergency services treated the man at the scene for minor injuries and he was later taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary for further treatment.

Witnesses said he was conscious and able to speak to paramedics and that he later walked into the waiting ambulance by himself.

Tram services between Edinburgh Park Central and the airport were suspended for an hour and a half to give emergency crews full access.

An Edinburgh Trams spokesman said: “We can confirm there was a collision between a tram and a pedestrian at Lochside Avenue yesterday.

“We supported emergency services at the scene and suspended services between Edinburgh Park Central and the airport for around 90 minutes to give them the access they needed to support the injured man.

“We’ll be investigating the incident but we’re very confident that our driver and the wider team reacted appropriately.”

Tram expert Professor Lewis Lesley, technical director of Lancashire-based light rail company Trampower, said the incident was “highly unusual”.

He said: “It’s such an unusual event that it becomes headline news. How many people have been hit by cars today?

“Trams are the safest form of public transport. I don’t think there’s been a single fatality in all the tramways across Britain in the last ten years.

“But 30,000 people have been killed by cars in the UK in that time – and around 40,000 are killed by cars in the US every year.”

A police spokeswoman said: “[We] can confirm that a 32-year-old man has been involved in a collision with a tram. The incident happened around 2pm at Lochside Crescent near to Edinburgh Park. He has been conveyed by ambulance to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary with minor injuries. Enquiries are on-going into the full circumstances of the incident.”

Yesterday’s incident is just one of a number of collisions involving the trams in the past 14 months. Since the service launched, there have been four high-profile crashes – most in the West End, with two involving buses and one a taxi.

In June last year, just one month after the trams rolled out of their Gogar depot for the first time, a 14-year-old girl was struck while crossing Princes Street near its junction with South Charlotte Street. She was knocked backwards but refused treatment and walked away apparently unharmed.