'Independent' Scots pensioner bedbound after tripping over active travel bollard
James Bridges has been left with a broken hand, bruised face and long-term health problems after the accident.
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A 92-year-old man was left bedbound with a broken hand and a bruised face after he fell over bollards marking out an extended pavement in Edinburgh.
James Bridges tumbled over the raised road marker, introduced under the Spaces for People scheme during the coronavirus pandemic, in Corstorphine High Street on April 3. He had been crossing the road to look at bus times on the opposite side of the street.
Speaking to Edinburgh Live, his daughter Anne Azak says the "fiercely independent" man has been rendered a shadow of his former self by the incident. She has hit out at Edinburgh City Council arguing that the so-called safety measures, designed to artificially extend the pavement, are anything but safe.
She said: "He did not see the black base of the bollard but fortunately there were some passersby who assisted him. His blood was spilt on the middle of the road and he was left in a very bad way.
"He was suffering from deep shock with extreme pain to his neck, shoulder, arms and hands along with a deep cut to his forehead. He also suffered from other bruising injuries to his face.
"One witness called for an ambulance before calling me as she found my telephone number in his wallet. I arrived some ten minutes before the ambulance and accompanied him to A&E at the Royal Infirmary."
Medics initially thought he had suffered a stroke as he lapsed into shock and his temperature plummeted – but an MRI scan and X-ray confirmed this wasn't the case. The next day, James recalled tripping over the bollard.
Anne said her father's injuries included a cut to his forehead that required stitches, a broken middle finger on his left hand and painful trauma to his muscle and bones on both hands and arm. He also suffered trauma to his muscle and bones on his neck and shoulders, and was left with extensive bruising on both of his eyes, cheeks, shoulder and chin.
However, the accident has left him with longer-term issues. As well as being on a near constant supply of painkillers, he is unable to properly use his arms to feed himself and has developed bed sores from spending so long in care.
Anne believes he will need long-term physiotherapy to learn to walk again, adding: "His doctors predict his recovery to be very long with no timeline at present for muscle healing. I fear there is a risk that the consequences of this accident in terms of extreme drug intake to his frail body and infection from his immobile state may prove fatal.
"The bollards are useless, unnecessary, unsightly and hazardous road installations and they should be removed with immediate effect. Corstorphine High Street is in an area of vulnerable elderly residents and school children too are at risk of tripping.
"I have absolutely zero understanding what these road structures are meant to achieve with the Spaces for People scheme. The Spaces for People website indicates that their mission is to remove road clutter and heighten safety for pedestrians - these serve the opposite effect.
"Since dad's accident, I have received some feedback from other local residents who have knowledge of less serious trips on these structures. The black coloured blocks blend into the tarmac road only adding to risk of not seeing them."
Councillor Scott Arthur, Transport and Environment Convener said: "I was sorry to hear about Mr Bridges's injury and wish him a speedy recovery. The measures on Corstorphine High Street were introduced to create a safer space for people to walk and spend time there.
"We'll continue to monitor the scheme as part of the Experimental Traffic Regulation (ETRO) process and would welcome any feedback during the ETRO period. Following this, if councillors decide to retain the extended footpath, we can then remove the bollards, pave the area and add a kerb."
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