Original Research: Adult pedestrian and cyclist injuries in Lilongwe, Malawi: a cross-sectional study

Mads Sundet

Gift Mulima

Chifundo Kajombo

Hallvard Gjerde

Asbjørg S. Christophersen

Sven Young

Keywords: Injuries, road traffic collisions, pedestrians, bicycling, Malawi, risk factors



Pedestrian and cyclist injuries are a major concern globally, but especially in low-income countries. Locally conducted research is needed to measure the size of the problem and advise policy on road safety interventions. We wanted to investigate the precise circumstances of these injuries in Lilongwe, Malawi and to identify risk factors for severe injuries.
Cross-sectional study of all adult pedestrian and cyclist injuries presenting to a large central hospital. This was a sub-study of a larger study with all types of road users included. All patients provided detailed information about the incidents leading to injury and were tested for alcohol.
There were 222 pedestrians, 183 bicycle riders and 42 bicycle passengers among the 1259 adult road traffic injury victims that were treated at Kamuzu Central Hospital during a 90-day period in 2019. Of these injuries, 60.2% occurred while the victim was walking/cycling along the road and 22.3% when the victim was trying to cross the road. The majority of the victims were men (89.1%). Helmet use for bicyclists was almost non-existent. Only 1 patient had used reflective devices when injured in the dark, despite 44.7% of these injuries occurring in reduced light conditions. There was an increased risk for serious and fatal injuries for pedestrians compared with bicyclists, and also compared with all types of road users. Patients injured in rural areas and those hit by lorries were more severely injured. Consuming alcohol before being injured was associated with more severe injuries in bicyclists. Being injured while crossing the road at painted zebra crossings was associated with an increased risk of serious and potentially fatal injuries.
This study identified important risk factors for severe injuries in pedestrians and cyclists. Implications for preventive measures are presented in a Haddon Matrix.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1995-7262
print ISSN: 1995-7262

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