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Emerg Med Australas. 2017 Feb;29(1):96-100. doi: 10.1111/1742-6723.12682. Epub 2016 Oct 4.

Alcohol intoxication in non-motorised road trauma.

Author information

Emergency and Trauma Centre, The Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
National Trauma Research Institute, The Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.



To determine the proportion of non-motorised road users involved in road traffic crashes that presents to hospital intoxicated.


We undertook a retrospective cohort study using data collected from the Alfred Trauma Registry. All patients presenting to an adult major trauma centre in Victoria, Australia from July 2009 to June 2014 who were involved in a road traffic crash as a non-motorised road user - pedestrians, pedal-cyclists, non-motorised scooter users, horse riders - were included. Patients who had a blood alcohol measurement were included, and intoxication was defined as a blood alcohol concentration ≥0.05 g/100 mL.


There were 1323 patients included for analysis with data on presenting blood alcohol concentration. Alcohol was detected in 248 (18.7%; 95% CI: 16.7-20.9) patients, whereas 211 (15.9%; 95% CI: 14.1-18.0) were intoxicated. Among all included pedestrians, 161 (24.7%) were intoxicated; among all included pedal-cyclists, 47 (7.3%) were intoxicated. Intoxicated patients were significantly younger, and a higher proportion were males and more likely to present after hours and on public holidays (P < 0.01). Survival to hospital discharge and inpatient rehabilitation requirements were similar among intoxicated and non-intoxicated patients.


Intoxication was common among non-motorised road users, and the proportion of intoxicated patients in this subgroup appears unchanged over time despite public awareness programmes. The true burden of intoxication in non-motorised road users remains unknown because of a lack of routine testing. Legislation directed at testing for intoxication of non-motorised users and introduction of penalties should be considered to improve safety of all road users.


accidents; alcoholic; bicycling; intoxication; pedestrian; traffic

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